Atmore residents to set up neighborhood watch

Published 3:52 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2022

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A small group of residents who live in the Pensacola Avenue and South Main Street areas met Thursday as a part of an interest group to establish a neighborhood watch.

A neighborhood watch program is a group of people living in the same area who want to make their neighborhood safer by working together and in conjunction with local law enforcement to reduce crime and improve their quality of life.

The meeting last week was held in the Tom Watson Cabin at Heritage Park. Atmore police and fire, along with a tech official, spoke at the event.

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Tom Tschida, who lives on Main Street, said it was brought to his attention that the area wanted to setup a neighborhood watch.

“Most of the stuff I’ve seen is people leaving stuff in their cars, leaving their doors open and unlocked,” he said. “The best thing from I’ve gathered is getting cameras for your house. It discourages them as well as a positive way to find people who have done us wrong.”

Tschida said the best thing to do in case you see something or someone suspicious, call 911.

“If it’s a real emergency, dial 911, not the regular police line,” he said. “We need to know what your address is, and what’s going on. Depending on what’s going on is who we’re going to send.”

Tschida encouraged the residents present to make sure their address is visible to the street so first responders can report to their houses in due time.

APD Chief Chuck Brooks also spoke about the importance of calling 911, not answering the door if someone you don’t know is ringing the doorbell or knocking, and to protect their property.

Brooks said to form a neighborhood watch, the small group gathered is off to a good start.

“To start a neighborhood watch, you’ve already done it,” he said. “You’ve got more than some neighborhood watches. I know Robinsonville has a neighborhood watch, and Forrest Hill Drive has one. If you have a situation at your house, or emergency, call the police department.”

Brooks said installing cameras is a deterrent.

“Cameras now are so inexpensive,” he said. “They show up right there on your phone.”
Albert Grassia, a tech advisor, spoke to the group about the benefits of having cameras. He said other than Ring, brands like Canary, Arlo and Vivint work as well.

Grassia said the cameras give homeowners a peace of mind when it comes to monitoring who approaches their house or is walking by.

Grassia said cameras can focus on certain areas in front or back of the house, and users can access footage easily through their phones.

He said he was thankful he had cameras during an incident some two years ago when a suspicious vehicle approached his house several times.

Grassia said he was able to send a video file with identifying markers to the APD, who was able to stop the suspicious vehicle as it drove by while officers were on scene.