Columbia Police Department helps train people for neighborhood watch

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COLUMBIA – Some Columbia residents are now more equipped to keep their neighborhoods safer after attending the neighborhood watch training event Tuesday night. 

People at the meeting heard presentations from the Columbia Neighborhood Watch and Columbia Police Officer Amy Bishop on how to limit crime in their neighborhood. In the event of a crime, neighborhood watch members are instructed to call the police and let law enforcement handle the situation.

"We are not a neighborhood vigilante force or anything like that. It's neighbors being present in their neighborhoods, being present in their homes, looking out the window, knowing what's going on and those neighbors being responsible for their neighborhoods, to keep their neighborhoods safe," Columbia Neighborhood Watch president Irwin Schneider said.

The neighborhood watch program brings neighbors together, allowing them to recognize something suspicious in the neighborhood.

"When you live next to somebody, you're gonna know what's out of place more so than the beat officer driving down the street," Bishop said.

Bishop also said she suggests that people be aware of the environment surrounding their houses, limiting the heights of bushes to prevent possible criminal hideouts.

Schneider said the neighborhood watch tries to host about six meetings per year, generally in the spring, summer and fall.

Though not officially a part of the police department, the neighborhood watch works closely with police.