New Richmond to form block watch program to reduce crime in the village

The village of New Richmond is forming a neighborhood block watch program.

Several residents, business owners, and homeowners have expressed concerns recently about the amount of loitering and drugs along the Front Street area.

“Council is looking for ways to curb crime in the village, especially on Front Street,” said council member Ramona Carr.

More than 30 residents and business owners joined forces July 19 to begin the block watch program in the village.

Held in council chambers, New Richmond police officer John Pelaha advised those gathered of what types of suspicious situations and sounds to be aware of. He also gave advice on how to observe surroundings and people in order to make better and more accurate identifications.

Now that New Richmond has embarked on an historic economic development initiative, council feels that the time has come to clean up the Front Street area.

“There is a problem and we are aware of it,” said Mayor Terry Durette. “Front Street is the first impression of the village that people get. The kids hanging out on the waterfront and the drugs are a problem that we are taking very seriously.”

Council member Ray Perszyk is very optimistic about the success of the new neighborhood block watch initiative.

“Citizens need to be diligent and aware,” he said. “It is a way of assisting the police department to be aware and to help them spot things when they are not around. I would suggest that all business owners get together, discuss their problems and concerns, share perspectives, and then share any ideas and suggestions with council.”

A few ideas already under consideration include heightened police visibility on and around Front Street, the installation of two more cameras near the Front Street Springer House, and even an idea to pump classical or broadway music out of the bandstand loudspeakers.

“These are only a few of the ideas we are considering,” said Mayor Durrette. “In time, we will get this problem under control.”

Anyone interested in the block watch initiative should call Donna at (513) 553-4146.