The Neighborhood Watch and McGruff programs will be expanded into all Sevier County communities under the direction of the Victim/Witness Advocate program and law enforcement agencies.
The McGruff program follows the organization of Neighborhood Watch but is specifically designed to assist children, who are taught they can get help in any neighborhood, said Howard Watkin, Victim/Witness Advocate chairman. McGruff symbols are displayed on trucks of the Utah Power and Light Co. and Mountain Fuel Supply Co., and employees are trained to assist youngsters in case of emergency and needs.Neighborhood Watch bands neighbors together in an organized effort to assist each other and deter residential crime.
Watkin said block captains are being selected to work with volunteers in three-block areas. Captains complete a training program and are then responsible to call meetings and train volunteers. They will also hold periodic reporting and training sessions.
At training programs, participants learn how to prevent burglaries. Captains will assist homeowners at their homes to implement crime prevention measures if necessary, Watkin said. Neighborhood Watch and McGruff signs and logos will be placed in windows of all participants.
Sevier County Sheriff John Meacham is working with Watkin, Richfield Police Chief Mayo Jackson and Salina Police Chief Gordon Keisel in coordinating program activities. He said about 40 percent of home burglaries in the county are solved by law enforcement agencies, but "we think that the Neighborhood Watch program will both increase the rate of case solving as well as lower the crime rate."