Washington pushes for watch groups
Published 11:24 am Monday, October 5, 2015
Tuesday will be a big night for Vicksburg Crime Prevention Specialist Tjuana Washington.
Washington, one of two certified crime prevention specialists with the city, has been working for weeks planning and supporting National Night Out set for 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at City Park Pavilion.
“I’ve worked elbow to elbow and shoulder to shoulder with Doug Arp getting the kick off up and going,” Washington said, referring to Arp whose zany stunts each year help raise awareness for the anti-crime event.
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Washington is in her second year at VPD on a mission to help the city reduce crime. One of the biggest portions of her job is helping organize Neighborhood Watch programs, which is the purpose of National Night Out.
“We want the citizens who have not formed a group in the area to come together and see the importance of them having a Neighborhood Watch Group,” Washington said. “The more focus you put on your neighborhood and the more interest you have in your neighborhood and people see it, you have enough meetings and the crime goes down.”
Vicksburg has more than 20 Neighborhood Watch programs and is looking to increase that over the next three years, Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong has said.
In April, Armstrong announced a plan that included sending VPD’s two crime prevention specialist to specialized training.
“We believe the three-year plan we are putting into place will make a huge difference in terms of getting the community involved by way of the Neighborhood Watch Program and crime prevention,” Armstrong said.
A lot of people don’t know how to start a program, which is why events like National Night Out are so important, Washington said. It allows residents to meet with police and neighbors and get information about how to keep the community safe.
“You still have people in the city who don’t know who the officials are. They don’t know who the police officers are,” Washington said.
Anyone interested in starting a watch program can call VPD and ask for Washington or Danielle Williams at 601-801-5360.