ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office is emphasizing the value of community watch groups, especially in light of a home invasion last weekend and an expected holiday season crime spike.
Rockingham County Sheriff's Office deputy Kevin Suthard said Rockingham County has approximately 40 community watch groups in various neighborhoods. They are comprised of neighborhood members who simply want to aid law enforcement in keeping their communities safe. Suthard said there are no qualifications for joining the groups other than attending monthly meetings, which typically are overseen by a detective.
Suthard and community watch leader Andy Johnson explained in having the community watch groups, there is a reciprocal benefit for both law enforcement and group members. Law enforcement alerts members of the community to what crimes have been happening in their areas.
In turn, the community watch groups let law enforcement know about problems happening in their neighborhoods. Suthard said community groups are immensely beneficial, as law enforcement cannot be everywhere in the county all the time.
Suthard said these groups, whose neighborhoods are equipped with community watch signs, help deter break-ins and other criminal activity.
He explained members also can be alert to acts of suspicious loitering--like that around a Berryhill Bridge Road bridge completely covered with graffiti.
Johnson said being a member of a community watch group does not mean acting as a vigilante. He said community watch members are instructed instead to contact their local law enforcement about their concern.
Suthard said anyone interested in joining or forming a community watch group can contact his or her local law enforcement agency.
WFMY News 2