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Neighborhood block watch programs in Mabton suggested by police chief

MABTON - Approximately 10 Mabton citizens attended a meeting held last night (Wednesday) to discuss forming block watch programs and crime prevention tips.

Mabton Police Chief Robert Perales covered several topics ranging from personal safety, child safety, automobile safety, how to spot a drug house in a neighborhood, graffiti and vandalism.

Gaye Vandermyn, who called the meeting at the Mabton Community Center, said the idea was born due to concerns of decreased police coverage.

"We thought we could help each other and the police," she said.

Perales told those gathered to make sure their address numbers on their house are clearly visible. This aids in officers getting to a call promptly. A common problem officers run into is the house numbers are painted the same color as the house.

Another safety tip Perales spoke about was keeping a person's car registration and insurance information on themselves at all times.

He said a new trend for car thieves is to steal a car and then make a bee line to the person's house using information from insurance cards or registrations.

Mabton Mayor Velva Herrera suggested to citizens they inform the police department when they go on vacation, this way the police can check up on their house.

Mabton Police Officer Mike Britton spoke to the Mabton residents about forming block watches.

He said the program is people backing up their neighbors on the block.

He described the program as having one person serve as a block captain who organizes the citizens on that particular block. The police department provides training on how to recognize trouble. The block captain has the phone numbers for those involved in the program. He calls them when someone is out of town so the neighbors can keep an eye on the houses.

On lady asked what happens if a person doesn't trust their neighbors. She was told a block watch could be expanded to include her.

The mayor suggests anyone interested in forming a block watch stop by city hall to pick up a packet of information on the program.

Another tip suggested was citizens driving around keeping an eye out for what's happening. If they see anything amiss, they should call the police.

Residents can call 894-5178 to reach the Mabton dispatch.

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