Group forms neighborhood watch after increase in crime - WNEM TV 5

Group forms neighborhood watch after increase in crime

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THOMAS TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

People fed up with crime are taking their fight to the streets. They're forming volunteer groups to help police with their jobs.

Crime has been on the increase in Saginaw County's Thomas Township.

"It scares me to death not knowing who is behind all of this," said Diana Schmiegel, Thomas Township resident.

She said a rash of break-ins are striking fear in her community. The criminals are so brazen they recently broke into a home across the street from the home of Sgt. James Hogue of the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department, while his patrol car was in his driveway.

"The deterrent isn't there having a patrol car sitting in the driveway. Several groups breaking into houses, they're just not scared," Hogue said.

The community has had enough.

"We felt compelled to do something," said Spence Webb, with the Swan Valley Neighborhood Watch Patrol.

Tami Benner, Webb and a bunch of neighbors are taking action. They formed the neighborhood watch group.

"When you're someone who can know your neighbors and invested in the community, then you're just going to be generally more likely to want to protect that community," Benner said.

The group is getting plenty of support. Starting next month the volunteers will be assigned to patrol different areas in the community and be on the lookout for bad guys.

"We hope to drive that element out of our area so everybody can sleep better at night," Webb said.

Thomas Township police and the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department said they welcome the extra eyes.

"If the bad guys know that they're out there, they might think twice about coming into this area," Hogue said.

The community collaboration proves action is far stronger than fear.

"We can help protect and keep each other safe," Schmiegel said.

On Thursday, June 30, the Swan Valley Neighborhood Watch Patrol will meet at Thomas Township Public Safety Administration Building to put the final plan in place for patrols. They hope to have volunteers patrolling streets by July 1.

To learn more about their social media outreach, CLICK HERE.

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