Neighborhood Watch Patrols to be revived in Waterloo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Neighborhood Watch Patrols to be revived in Waterloo

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The city of Waterloo has revived a program that is supposed to stop crime.

Neighborhood watch patrols would use a marked city vehicle that members of Waterloo's neighborhood associations could use to cruise their neighborhood.

Signs marked "Neighborhood Watch Area" are scattered all over Waterloo's neighborhoods.

They're a good reminder that someone's watching.

But more people may soon be watching the streets and sidewalks for crime soon, after city leaders approved the return of neighborhood watch patrols.

"It just adds visibility. It adds eyes and ears to our community. We ran it 2 years ago and it was popular but because of funding issues, we discontinued it but we decided it's an important part of our community so we decided to bring it back," said Director of Safety Services Dan Trelka.

It won't be a police car...but a white sedan marked "Neighborhood Watch."

The city will provide the car and take care of maintenance and insurance.

Users will only need to pay for gas.

Mary Potter's lived and worked in the Church Row neighborhood for years.

She says the program will help residents take more pride in their neighborhood's safety.

"The more they drive around, the more they are going to know what's normal and they're going to see things that are abnormal at times that many people are out watching. I think it's more comforting to the neighborhood in general," said Potter.

Is there a concern about vigilantism?

"Yes but we cover that in training. We want people to be the eyes and ears of the police department for the community and in essence stay in the car," said Trelka.

"Just knowing that people are watching and people are aware of circumstances, kind of deters things. People are not as eager to get involved in bad stuff because they know somebody might be watching and turn them in," said Potter.

Police say the program will start soon.

There are about 30 neighborhood associations in Waterloo.

The associations would have to submit names to police.

Those people would have to submit to a basic background check and go through training and orientation.

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