TEHACHAPI, Calif. — The Tehachapi Police Department invited a neighborhood on the north side of town to a public meeting Tuesday, aimed at starting a new neighborhood watch program.
About a dozen people turned out to the meeting. Police say they wanted to start there because it's one of the oldest parts of town, so they felt the neighborhood deserved it.
“Neighborhood watch belongs to the community, it’s something where people get together, they talk to each other, it's another sense of community at that level. And they just kind of pay attention to what’s going on around the neighborhood," said Key Budge, Public Information Officer for the Tehachapi Police Department.
The police department called the public meeting at Pioneer Park in an effort to kickstart the city's second neighborhood watch program. The first was created in the middle of the city near South Curry Street and West Valley Boulevard. Officials say policing is about a partnership between the community and the officers that serve it.
“And this provides that opportunity. When a neighborhood watch meeting takes place, officers come out and they actually get to meet the individuals that live in this neighborhood watch. They can answer questions directly from the community and hear what their concerns are," Budge said.
Many in the area say they don’t have many big concerns right now, in fact, several people 23ABC spoke to at the meeting said they feel crime is diminishing in their neighborhood, which is in the area of North Green Street and West I Street. They want to make sure it stays that way.
“Our population has grown, we have a lot more businesses, a lot more people moving to the area. So I think with that comes a need for the community to look out for each other," said Angie Perez, who attended the meeting.
“We need to watch one another’s places if they’re gone, or if you go to the store, or here to Bakersfield, you need to know that you’re safe," said Claude Wayne Butterbredt, who has lived in Tehachapi for 67 years.
Tonight at the meeting, Nancy Valle was picked as the one to spearhead the effort.
“We haven’t heard of anybody breaking into anybody’s home, or breaking into any cars, but we like to keep this side of the community safe. Safe for us and safe for our children….And grandchildren because we do have a lot of grandchildren that are in this area," she said.
Valle says part of her duty will be to get more people involved in the neighborhood watch.
For information on how to start a neighborhood watch in your area, the National Neighborhood Watch has you covered.