Newport Initiates Community Watch Program

NEWPORT CITY – Some residents reacting to crimes in the region have started a community watch. Individuals are mostly concerned with burglaries.Would-be robbers start by checking a home. “If nobody is home, they try the door to see if it is unlocked,” said Newport Police Chief J. Paul Duquette. “If it’s unlocked, they go in. If it’s not unlocked, lots of time they boot the door, go in, do a quick smash and grab and get out.” Some homes have been robbed even while people are sleeping in them.Police are particularly concerned with thieves stealing guns from area homes.Residents around Duchess Street and Union Street started the first community watch last fall. Since then, police have interrupted possible criminal activity around the high school.“There’s always kids smoking and kids hanging around,” said Duquette. There have been reports of possible drug transactions by the boat landing. “When we get word of that, a cruiser goes right to the area,” said Duquette. “If we have reason to stop somebody, we do. Tickets have been issued and people have moved out of the area.”  Residents around Duchess Street went so far as to purchase a few of their own community watch signs. The police department also purchased some signs.“We’re going to post them up,” said Duquette. The police department is willing to help individuals who want to start a community watch. There is no cost. “It takes somebody who wants to be an organizer or team leader,” said Duquette. “The police department doesn’t have enough people to be a team leader for every neighborhood in the city.”Duquette stressed the community is not to take the law into their own hands.“This is merely making people aware of what to look for and calling us when they see something suspicious that they think needs to be checked,” said Duquette.