Two years ago, Marlene Lynch started to notice that crime was going up in the Woodhaven neighborhood where she had lived for 15 years.


Two years ago, Marlene Lynch started to notice that crime was going up in the Woodhaven neighborhood where she had lived for 15 years.



“I was reading the police blotters. I was seeing vehicles that didn’t belong in the neighborhood, kids cutting school,” Lynch said. “There were a lot of vacant buildings with code violations and an increase in crime.”



Lynch said she was determined to do something to take her neighborhood back. She decided to organize a community watch group.



“I went and passed out flyers around the neighborhood, and the night of our first meeting, we had 22 people attend,” Lynch said.



Lynch and neighbor Michele Leo are leaders in the 2-year-old Woodhaven Neighborhood Watch.



Leo said she wanted to become involved after someone attempted to break into her home three years ago.



“We used to have a police liaison years ago, but that kind of fell by the wayside and we just wanted to get a neighborhood watch started up again,” Leo said.



Now the group has someone walking or driving around the neighborhood most every evening looking for anything out of order among the 200 homes in the subdivision that includes Belltown, Tall Pine, Pine Dale, Wildwood and Poplar roads, and Forest View and Woodhaven drives.



“We’re just looking to observe any abnormalities,” Leo said.



If they see something, they call police.



“The police are right there to check it out real quick,” Lynch said.



Leo said that the Havelock Police Department has been on board with the watch program since the beginning.



“The police are absolutely wonderful,” Leo said. “Their response time is really fast.”



Police crime statistics from 2011 to 2013 don’t necessarily show a reduction in calls for police assistance, but Lynch said the types of calls are different.



“The stats are kind of the same as far as calls, but now what we’re seeing in our neighborhood is calls for suspicious persons as opposed to attempted break-ins,” Lynch said.



“Anytime you have an extra set of eyes in the neighborhood, it’s going to help the situation,” said Detective Christopher Morning, of the Havelock Police Department.



Leo said that the Woodhaven group wants residents in other neighborhoods to know that a successful watch group can make a difference. At Woodhaven’s last meeting, residents from the Southern Terrace and Fox Croft neighborhoods attended.



“If we can get them to bring another homeowner and get them interested, then hopefully we can start up other subdivisions,” Lynch said.



The Woodhaven Neighborhood Watch has its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 29, with a pot luck dinner kicking off the event at 6 p.m. For more information, call Leo at 444-1700 or 626-5632.