Sheriff: Rogers Co. Neighborhood Watch Programs Are Working
INOLA, Oklahoma - As more neighborhoods are forming their own watch groups, some might wonder if they really work.
The Rogers County Sheriff's Office says yes — and it has proof.
Everything Jennifer Hale needs to know about her neighborhood is on her phone, in a group text message.
Hale started the watch group for Ruby Estates, near Highway 412 and S 4180 Road in Inola. She says she wanted to improve communication between neighbors after she got tired of aggressive solicitors plaguing her neighborhood.
"They seemed to ignore signage and not be very respectful," Hale explained. "I had a couple that were not very respectful at all."
She called Maj. Coy Jenkins with the Rogers County Sheriff's Office, who oversees the watch programs, and they got the ball rolling.
Asked if she feels safer, two months after the watch group was formed, Hale said, "Yes, I do."
Sheriff Scott Walton says it's that simple: getting homeowners to report suspicious activity when they can.
"We are begging them to become the eyes and ears for us," Walton said.
Only three or four deputies patrol the entire county of 90,000 residents at a time, Walton explains, so neighborhood watch groups are extremely effective.
He pointed to one example from this past weekend.
Hale's watch group at Ruby Estates noticed suspicious vehicles and asked deputies for saturated patrols of their neighborhood.
That Saturday, deputies arrested four Inola men: Brian Justin Nixon, Christopher James Sund, Tanner August Tate and Randall Kenneth Smith. Deputies say the men burglarized homes under construction in the neighborhood, and they found drugs in one of the men's cars as well.
Walton says it's a testament to the value of neighborhood watch groups.
"We've seen these things work in wealthy neighborhoods as well as the poor neighborhood," said Walton. "It's simple and it works."
Hale says she's glad she took action in her own community.
"I can control how I protect my own home and I can help other people out if I see something suspicious," added Hale. "There's just nothing negative about having open communication with your neighbors."
If you live in Rogers County and would like to start your own neighborhood watch group, contact Maj. Coy Jenkins by calling (918) 923-4477.