ELYRIA — A group of residents in the city’s northeast corner is starting a block watch in hopes of curbing what it says is an increase in vandalism and other crimes.
Led by Clyde O’Neal, a Republican running for the 7th Ward seat on City Council, and his wife, Peggy O’Neal, the group plans to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Cross Community Church on North Abbe Road to discuss the need for residents to be proactive in protecting their homes against crime.
“I can’t praise the Elyria Police Department enough for the work they do, but the residents need to start communicating with each other more,” Clyde O’Neal said.
O’Neal, who lives on Wilder Avenue, said he started thinking about organizing a block watch in April after vandals tore down a decorative swing in his front yard and neighbors complained about problems, too.
“People in the neighborhood started noticing more and more stuff was happening,” O’Neal said. “People’s houses were broken into and people started talking to me about it, so we decided to try and put the watch together.”
In May, O’Neal held a small meeting with residents from a few nearby streets to get a group together. The success of the first meeting prompted O’Neal to circulate fliers for a much larger meeting to create a block watch that will encompass all of the streets on the east side of North Abbe Road in the area stretching from the Ohio Turnpike to Lorain County Community College.
“We’re hoping for a big turnout. We put out more than 1,400 pamphlets for the meeting,” O’Neal said.
At the meeting, O’Neal said, the group will discuss problems residents have noticed and residents interested in becoming block captains will be able to sign up.
“This isn’t just for people in this neighborhood, though,” he said. “Anyone from the city who is interested in starting their own block watch should show up if they have any questions.”
Elyria police have said that they have noticed increased crime rates throughout the city this year but that it isn’t concentrated in any specific area.
The best way to combat local crime is to keep communication open among residents and the police and to note any suspicious behavior before it can become a problem, police said.
Contact Joe Medici at 329-7152 or firstname.lastname@example.org.