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North Springfield neighborhood bonds together to put more eyes on crime watch

Published: Dec. 23, 2020 at 5:37 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -

Located just behind Lowe’s in north Springfield sits Spring Meadows Estates, a typical residential area with some untypical looking neighborhood watch signs that sprung up after a sudden surge in crime.

You’ll notice the signs all over the neighborhood and they’re quite eye-catching because they feature a big pair of cartoon-looking eyes that remind you a little of Wile E Coyote of “Roadrunner” fame. The eyes on the sign are looking straight at you with a menacing stare and the words “We are watching” above them and the words “This is a no-nonsense neighborhood” below them.

The rise in thieves coming through the neighborhood started during the summer.

“I go to work at 2 o’clock in the morning and see someone walking into a yard who doesn’t belong there,” said resident Randy Hill. “They just act suspicious. We have several videos of people trying to get into a car in the middle of the night.”

“There’s been countless people with backpacks on going through trashcans, grabbing off porches,” explained Karra Ginsberg who came up with the “eyes” idea after her husband, who works at a sign shop, broached the idea of posting warnings in the neighborhood. “There was one episode our neighbor had right down the street where someone walked into his garage and stole from both vehicles and then was later reported as being on heroin. They did catch that suspect. We’ve actually had people walk up to storm doors where the front door was open and look inside the house to see what they might be able to pick up quickly. We had a person who tried to steal a car out of someone’s garage and another one out of their driveway. So this build up of events made us decide to do something a little more proactive.”

While no one knows exactly what started the increase in foot traffic in the area, at least one person trying to open car doors was followed by a resident to a nearby homeless camp.

“We’re not sure that they had any part in this but we’re just trying to keep a watch out and keep everything safe,” Ginsberg pointed out.

So the neighborhood decided to start looking out for each other with 94 residents signing up for a Facebook page that serves as a call-to-arms.

“The minute something out of the ordinary happens we all know about it,” said Hill.

“And everybody’s out on porches or driving through the neighborhood looking to see if they can find the person,” Ginsberg added.

The residents took it upon themselves because they understand law enforcement can’t be in the area 24 hours-a-day.

“The police have been patrolling the neighborhood quite a bit more,” Hill said. “They come by at least three or four times a night.”

“But we understand the police do have other things that they need to do,” Ginsberg said.

The Facebook sharing has helped Spring Meadows Estates become a more tight knit community.

“We all have each other’s phone numbers. We know who lives in which house,” Hill explained.

“So if we drive by and we see a garage door that’s open late at night we know who to message,” Ginsberg said.

“And we all communicate,” Hill added. “Communication is the key to making it work.”

Oh yeah...about those signs.

“We didn’t want to come across as being mean about it,” Ginsberg said of the crime watch warnings. “The eyes represent that we’re a friendly neighborhood but we also want to get the message across that we are watching.”

So does it work?

“I think it does,” Hill said with a laugh. “It draws the attention.”

Actually crime has gone down significantly since the signs went up and the neighborhood watch began.

Not to mention the other benefits.

“We feel like we’ve formed a bond and we can truly call ourselves a neighborhood,” Ginsberg said. “I think it would be a great thing for other neighborhoods to try this out.”

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