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#abq4ward: Retired teacher monitors her neighborhood as crime watch coordinator

Steve Soliz
August 01, 2017 10:23 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- People got together with neighbors and police Tuesday for National Night Out. Communities all across the state and country took part in an effort to fight crime.

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The initiative helps neighbors and police get to know one another. It's also meant to send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are fighting back.

Janet Butts has moved on to a second career of sorts. The retired teacher is the crime watch coordinator in her northeast Albuquerque neighborhood.

"I send emails out to everybody about once a week," she said. "What I do is I coordinate with the block captains. We have 25 now, and that means 25 little neighborhood watches."

Butts said communication is key to keeping the neighborhood safe.

"I send emails out to the block captains and they send them out to the rest of the people," she said. "And in our neighborhood, there are 369 homes, so we have a pretty good communication network that keeps everybody connected, not just for crime," she said.

That same system can be used to let people know about garage sales or other neighborhood events, Butts said. The 70-year-old spends her days organizing and executing crime prevention plans.

"We've been partnering with APD, working to help people who aren't in an association build some neighborhood watches," she said. "And, I would really like to see all block captains throughout the city. That's my big dream - connected in the same way my neighborhood association is so that everybody can pull together to fight crime."

Butts said the Albuquerque Police Department is vital to what they do.

"We need them. They work with us. They help us. Hopefully, we help them," she said. "It's definitely a partnership."

"The interaction we have with Miss Butts and her neighborhood association and even the block captains are pivotal in building partnerships," added APD Lt. Joe Burke. I mean, that's what the police department is looking for. We're looking to enhance our community policing initiatives within the city."

Anyone in Albuquerque can start their own watch group, Butts said.

"Why wait until everybody's experienced crime? Why don't you just go ahead and make an effort to create something now in a very proactive and vigilant way?" she said.

The first step is meeting the people you live next to.

"You don't have to love or even like your neighbors, but you can still work respectfully in doing things that are good for everyone," she said. "Like if you go out of town, why should you risk your home and property by not letting your neighbors know to keep an eye out on it?"

The City of Albuquerque has a web page with information about starting a Neighborhood Watch

For our other #abq4ward stories from National Night Out, click on the links below:

Click here for more #abq4ward stories.

Credits

Steve Soliz

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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