Keep eye on your neighborhood

The Merrimack Police Department has revitalized its Neighborhood Watch program, asking neighbors to get to know each other and keep an eye and ear out for anything that doesn’t seem right.

The revamped program was announced earlier this year after the old Neighborhood Watch Program lost its impact in the community and was not being used anymore.

Merrimack Police have also seen “an increase in the number of home burglaries,” said Robert Kelleher, the community service officer. “This fact is alarming residents because it is hitting so close to home.”

Instead of using phone calls to give people information, police now send e-mails to each “neighborhood representative,” who acts as a point person for the neighborhood and will forward the e-mail to the respective neighborhood.

Kelleher said the Neighborhood Watch program is a way for people to have peace of mind, take back their neighborhood and be on friendly terms with the people who live near them.

“If you know both your neighbors work during the day, but you see someone at their house, give us a call and we’ll check it out. People think that by calling (the police), they are bothering us, but they’re not. It’s our job,” Kelleher said.

Through a presentation by Kelleher and a Crime Line officer, residents learn about home protection, when to call police, what to report, and how to report something to the police.

According to Kelleher, the Crime Line and Web tips, where residents can submit information to police online, are both extremely active. Residents like the anonymity of the Crime Line and Web tips because they don’t have to identify themselves, and don’t feel like they are getting someone they know in trouble.

With a lot of interest and reception from town residents, Kelleher said the revitalized program has been successful, in part because it is publicized on town Web sites, the town TV news channel.

Currently there are “16 or 19 neighborhoods participating with more about to come on board,” Kelleher said.

Residents can contact their “neighborhood representative” to join Neighborhood Watch or become a “neighborhood representative” and contact people who live near them to get the program running. Neighborhood Watch is open to every resident; even people who live on a main street and are not part of a neighborhood are invited to sign up to receive the e-mail alerts.

For more information about the Neighborhood Watch Program, visit www.merrimacknh.gov/police/articles_and_tips/crime_prevention/neighborhood_crime_watch or contact Officer Robert Kelleher at rkelleher@merrimacknh.gov.