Lynchburg police want young people to help revitalize neighborhood watch program

Police will hold a meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 in Lynchburg library

By Magdala Louissaint - Lynchburg Bureau Reporter

LYNCHBURG, Va. - Lynchburg police are hoping to revitalize their neighborhood watch program. This comes after a man died during a stabbing last week in the 500 block of Amherst Street.

Elsie Dillard has lived near Amherst Street for 47 years and used to be a part of their neighborhood watch group. She said, “We as neighbors used to leave our doors open and look out for one another, and we never had such crimes going on."

Dillard doesn't live too far from where a young man was stabbed to death last week.

“Police (are) doing all they can, and we are calling and trying to protect our neighborhood and keep it safe,” Dillard said.

The recent homicide has police concerned and focused particularly in the Amherst, Cabell and Rivermount areas. The police department has 62 active neighborhood watch groups throughout the city and they say those groups are doing a phenomenal job. Lynchburg thinks it would help to introduce a younger generation to the watch groups.

"I wanted to reach out to our younger communities to tell them to 'step up,' contact us, we'd love to hear from them, and what they have to bring to the table. We want new ideas for our neighborhood watches too,” said Sgt. Jeff Rater, Lynchburg Police Department.

They believe technology is the way to attract youth, and they are working on an app to help people report problems.

"You know how everybody is tech savvy now and everybody has an iPhone. We're gonna try to update everything, even with technology, the app's really neat. By a click on your phone, we can get information,” Rater said.

From 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 16, at the Lynchburg library, police will meet with young people who are interested and other members of the neighborhood watch groups about revitalizing the program.

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