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Neighborhood Watch needs more members

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ST. IGNATIUS – Extra eyes are watching out for crime since the Neighborhood Watch began a few months ago.

“Keep doing what you are doing,” Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Rich Salois said at the group’s last meeting. “Keep these meetings going. The word will spread: don’t come down here (to commit a crime) or you’ll get caught.”

Neighborhood Watch members meet once a month to discuss community safety, and law enforcement officers are invited to attend.

“We are here to give advice and listen to concerns,” Trooper Salois said. “If an individual at one of these meetings said there is an issue in an area, we can patrol that area.”

Maintaining a distance from a possible crime is one way to stay safe while watching the neighborhood for crime.

“The best thing you can do is to observe,” Salois said.

Former St. Ignatius Police Chief Charles Kuczynski helped the group figure out how to respond to a crime during an earlier meeting. Kuczynski planned to continue supporting the group but he unexpectedly passed away last month from cancer. Group facilitator Daren Incashola said he hopes the next police chief gets involved with the group. 

“This (group) is a great asset for police officers,” he said. “It gives them extra eyes and ears from people who know the neighborhood.”

Group members are watching out for thieves.

“We’ve got a lot of small opportunity thefts, and like the rest of the county, we have a drug problem,” he said.

Incashola hopes more people get involved with the group.

“Let me know what you are interested in,” he said to the group. “We can have speakers come to these meetings. We can have barbecues and fundraisers. We need to buy signs to let people know we have a Neighborhood Watch.”

Bernie Lovell is a member of the group. 

“I want my community to be safe, and I want the kids to be safe here,” she said. “Before I go to bed, I look out for anything out of place.” 

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. in the St. Ignatius Senior Center. 

“Anyone is welcome to join, bring a friend,” Incashola said. “We need more people to get involved.” 

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