Judy Mowrey relates how a neighborhood watch responded to tragedy.
We live in a fairly small subdivision in Lilburn where there was once a flourishing homeowner’s association that eventually became mostly inactive. An attempt was made at starting a neighborhood watch that also slowly dwindled. Some of the original homeowners sold and moved away; gradually there were only a few people who actually knew one other. Lives were busy and people came and went and mostly no one knew each other any more.
Then a little less than three years ago some of the neighbors decided to try to reactivate the neighborhood watch with assistance from the Lilburn Police Department. What a difference it made! Small things like waving and speaking to fellow members of the community when walking dogs or driving by made a big difference. Then, having a chance to get together regularly to socialize and gather knowledge on how to be a good neighbor, watching out for one another and keeping our community safe changed how we looked at each other. Now there were names and faces that go together and a caring atmosphere has developed. Any time one of us is away from home we ask others in the neighborhood to keep an eye on things during the absence. If someone is ill there are people close by who care and check in on them. We have built a community.
When tragedy struck, in the form of a sudden death of one of the women in the neighborhood, the watch group got the word out and the neighbors acted quickly to call on the family, take food, attend the funeral and express concern and sympathy. Neighbors picked up mail, put out garbage pails and watched the house while the owner was away on family business. The family was overwhelmed by the kindness and caring of this group of neighbors who did what they could to help in a sad situation. It is probable that none of this would have happened had there been no active neighborhood watch. Due to the heightened awareness of being part of a larger community and the practical knowledge of contact information for the neighborhood, it was possible to make the needs of this family known. And the response was amazing and gratifying.
Building a partnership of members of a community is a great asset and brings a better quality of life to the neighborhood. Just ask our neighbor and he will tell you.
For additional information about starting a neighborhood watch in your area, contact SafetySmart Lilburn at firstname.lastname@example.org.