Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

March 5, 2014

The Neighborhood Watch Coalition and you

By Tom Covino
Sun contributor

CROSSVILLE — I know you've heard the term "neighborhood watch," but have you given any thought as to what members of a watch coalition do? The first thing that probably comes to mind is that it's a group of very nosey people wanting to find out who you are, what you have, how much you're worth and all the other curiosities associated with people who can't mind their own business. That answer is simply wrong.

To demonstrate the benefits of a neighborhood watch, I'll begin with a story that changed the lives of a couple who are relatively new to this community. As many of us have done, they recently went back up north to be with their daughter, who was about to give birth to her first child. Three weeks into their visit, they received a call from our local Public Safety Department advising them to return home in order to determine their loss from a home robbery. While they were gone, thieves had backed a U-Haul rental truck up to their garage door and began loading their belongings without anyone becoming none the wiser. No one even suspected anything because it looked like another family either moving in or moving out. The loss is expected to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Had there been a neighborhood watch group for that particular area, perhaps someone would have realized that what was taking place was an upscale robbery. We have a saying in New York, "if you see something, say something." This use of this phrase began after the 9/11 attacks, which could have been prevented through situational awareness.

Often, people feel like they might be making a fool of themselves if they report something that later turns out to be legitimate activity. Public Safety Chief Randy Hoover encourages the community to report anything unusual, no matter how insignificant it may seem. He is enthusiastic and very supportive of the neighborhood watch program. Public Safety has limited resources. As such, they simply cannot be everywhere all the time. That's why they need the help of residents to alert them when something is wrong.

Under Chief Hoover's leadership, crime in Fairfield Glade is at its lowest point. However, economic conditions are creating incentives for more people to supplement their incomes through illegal means. Despite this reality, less than half of our community participates in the neighborhood watch coalition. 

To get plugged in, attend the Spring Meeting of the Fairfield Glade Neighborhood Watch Coalition (FGNWC) on March 13 at the Community & Conference Center beginning at 9 a.m. Additionally, you can contact anyone at the Fairfield Glade Resident Services office, located next to Curves off of Peavine Rd. They can pass along information to representatives of the FGNWC.

The FGNWC is a great way to become informed as to what's happening in the community; you get to know who your neighbors are, who, in turn, may become a watchful eye for you when you're away. What could be better than neighbors helping neighbors?

By becoming more knowledgeable in how to watch and what to watch for, you could possibly save a life from a fire or other health related incident. I guarantee you'll derive great satisfaction from making such a difference in someone's life.

For additional information, feel free to call me at 707-9314 or 335-6758.