Members of a Midtown neighborhood watch group were welcomed Tuesday evening by a full house of local officers for the first meeting of 2019.
Six police officers with the St. Joseph Police Department, including Sgt. Roy Hoskins, met with members of the Bartlett Park neighborhood watch — one of 11 watch groups in the city.
Meeting at the Huffman Methodist Church, conversations centered around a variety of topics from concerns about new marijuana businesses to officer duties and staffing.
A key point of discussion at the meeting came when groups members asked police what they could do to assist law enforcement in making St. Joseph a safer place.
Hoskins and others stressed the importance of developing good relationships and networks with neighbors and others in a neighborhood, strengthening communication and always looking out for one another.
“A lot of people don’t know their neighbors anymore” Sgt. Wayne Byrom said. “It seems like the areas where we have a close-knit community, people know their neighbors, know what’s supposed to be going on, we don’t see as much crime.”
Hoskins pointed to a new method, the Crime Stopper’s new and free P3 Tips reporting app, as a tool that locals can use to help the Police Department identify potential suspects. Users are capable of sending pictures and messages with information about incidents to law enforcement through the app.
“If you see something going on when a crime is happening, don’t be afraid to talk to us,” Sgt. Brett Kelley said.
He said a lack of cooperation from potential witnesses can, at times, delay cases from going forward to prosecution despite officers having a good idea of who a perpetrator is in some cases.
Tuesday’s meeting was the first since the group ended its winter hiatus, the group meets on the third Tuesday of each month.