One community takes steps to cut down on crime - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

One community takes steps to cut down on crime

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PORTAGE COUNTY (WAOW) -

Right now there are eight neighborhood watch groups in Portage County. But, sheriffs officers admit many of them aren't active. That's why some people there are trying to change that in an effort to make the streets they live on safer.

After several houses in this Park Ridge neighborhood were burglarized, Patricia Baker knew something had to be done.

"I was frightened," Baker said. "We get a lot of transportation, a lot of people traveling through Park Ridge that aren't part of our little community."

That's why, along with a group of neighbors, Baker began the process of starting a neighborhood watch group.

"People need to be aware of this and we need to watch out for one another," Baker said.

According to sheriffs officers, Portage County had more than 60 burglary cases in 2011 that resulted in formal charges. In 2012, that number almost doubled. 

"It got the residents to saying hey, we need to do a little bit more in our area," Portage County Sgt. Mike Lukas said.

In the past, Sgt. Lukas says neighborhood watch programs have been successful. But, participation is key. And recently, not a lot of people have been participating. But, officers and neighbors hope this program in Park Ridge will take off.

"Once it becomes a person instead of just a property it really changes people's perspective."

Baker hopes that will be the key to making these streets a little safer.

"If a situation were to happen again my next door neighbor would actually make notes and keep track of what happened and she would know this is really suspicious activity," Baker said. 

Program leaders say they hope to get the Park Ridge neighborhood watch program up and running by Spring.

If you're interested in learning more or starting a neighborhood watch group in your area click here: http://www.co.portage.wi.us/sheriff/operations/Safety%20Officer.html or contact Sgt. Mike Lukas at (715) 346-1400.

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