The Times West Virginian

October 13, 2013

White Hall establishing Neighborhood Watch program

‘Community policing’ is being encouraged

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Officials in White Hall are working to make residents and business owners feel safer.

Police Chief Geno Guerrieri said he is working on a Neighborhood Watch program for the town. He said he wants to have both residents and business owners involved in the program.

“It’s community policing,” he said.

Guerrieri said people have been showing concerns with recent break-ins. With the Neighborhood Watch program, residents will be able to help out the police.

“We can’t be everywhere at once,” he said. “We need the help of the citizens to be the eyes and the ears in the community.”

The way the program works is different areas will have a block captain, someone whom they can contact if they see something suspicious.

“If they see someone suspicious walking through their yard they’ll be able to give us a description so when we get called to the incident we know exactly what we’re looking for,” Guerrieri said. “If for some reason we can’t get out there, they can call their block captain.”

Guerrieri said it provides residents with another resource to report to for suspicious activity. When he worked in Monongah, Guerrieri said they started a Neighborhood Watch program.

“It went pretty well there,” he said.

Guerrieri said he hopes the reaction of the program will be let residents and businesses feel a little bit safer.

“Sometimes it tends to get busy out here,” he said. “If we can all get together and have meetings every month, I think it will be a really good thing.”

At Monday’s council meeting, Guerrieri said he will be informing council members on the program. He said he hopes to have meetings beginning in November.

“Once we get this Neighborhood Watch program up, we just ask people to be cautious and report suspicious activity,” Guerrieri said.

Guerrieri said residents who do feel threatened should call the police.

“We don’t care if it’s a strange person; we’ll come out there and check it out,” he said. “We’d rather be safe than sorry.”

Mayor Guy Ward said even though White Hall has little crime, there’s no reason to wait for something big to happen.

“I praise Chief Guerrieri for taking the initiative and organizing Neighborhood Watch groups in the Town of White Hall,” Ward said.

Ward said he encourages citizens to get involved with the program.

“We have a great police department in White Hall. but I’m sure they would welcome the assistance,” he said.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.