Neighbors watching out for each other in Richland

Neighbors watching out for each other in Richland

RICHLAND, Wash. -- People in Richland are watching out for each other. The number of Block Watch programs has nearly double in the last year.

Guard dogs and home security systems will only get you so far.

"They punched the lock, punched the ignition and took off. It's a really bad feeling," said Jim Jensen who lives in Richland.

Crooks stole Jensen's ride and his sense of security. He says that's why he was one of the first people to join a Block Watch group in Richland.

"There's gang kids trying to come to Richland and we'd like to stop that from happening," he said.

Plenty of others feel the same way. At the beginning last year there were 19 individual Block Watch groups in Richland, but this year there are 33.

That raises an interesting question - are Block Watch teams actually making Richland safer? After all, they're only as strong as the neighborhood makes them. Action News learned it's been a mixed bag.

Since the beginning of 2012, there has been a large drop of burglaries, car thefts and drug cases in Richland while robbery and assault cases have spiked.

Richland police hope to have several more Block Watch teams set up by the end of the year. 

"We want you to call when you see something suspicious. We want you to call about drugs and gangs," said Officer Rick Kain.

It's truly a grassroots effort to make the community safer overall.