Las Vegas police encourage neighborhood watch groups

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -
So you want to know what is going on in your neighborhood? Many of us are taking to social media to make sure we're keeping an eye on things but Las Vegas police aren't necessarily a huge fan of the ever popular Facebook groups or apps like Nextdoor.
 
Police admit these types of applications are wonderful for networking and getting to know your neighbors but they say think twice before engaging in them.
 
"We also have to be careful about misinformation," said Capt. James LaRochelle.
 
Police say these groups can end up acting like a game of telephone where many versions of the truth get posted and no one really knows what to believe.
 
"We don't want that to drive a level of fear in our neighborhoods," said LaRochelle. "We want healthy neighborhoods."
 
Police have a solution. They want you and your neighbors to form an official neighborhood watch group.
 
Police say blocks with Neighborhood Watch Groups have 10 percent less crime than blocks without them.
 
Susan Powell has been a block captain for about six months and already feels the difference.
 
"A huge difference," she said. "And so do all my tenants! Everybody is feeling safer. We've got signs posted. We have cameras now. It's getting bigger and stronger all the time."
 
When you have a neighborhood watch group, you have a captain acting as a coordinator and a direct messenger between your block and police.
 
"It's more understanding and everybody has got more detail to exactly what is going on rather than the he said she said and it gets blown out of proportion to what it is," Powell said.
 
There are currently 1,714 active neighborhood watch groups within Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's jurisdiction. Nearly half of them are in the northwest while 57 are in the northeast. Police say that is not enough and they want hundreds more. If you want to start one with your neighbors, call your area command.
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