Laclede County sheriff says rise in neighborhood watch programs brings decrease in crime

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:50 PM CDT
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LACLEDE COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - Police say a safety program in Laclede County is bringing crime numbers way down, the sheriff said it is also bringing the community together.

“We have grown from four people, we’re up to about 21 individuals. The reason we really wanted to join forces with the Laclede County Sheriff’s Department is because Conway did not have a very big presence of police officers in town, and we’re a small town,“ said Ruthie Letterman. She is one of the founding members of the Conway neighborhood watch program.

She joined to keep her and her neighbors safe.

”It helps ensure the safety of each community member, and it also helps whenever somebody new is coming into the community they want to know what’s our crime rate like. Is there a protection,“ said Letterman.

The sheriff says these groups are formed mostly to help prevent two major crimes.. burglaries and stealing.

”We know that this past year our burglaries are down 65% Our stealings are down about 60%. So property crimes in the rural areas is always the thing that you see the most of a lot of that is fueled by the drug issues,” said Sheriff David Millsap.

Sheriff Millsap says not only is property crime down, but communication is up.

“We know that if we have something that’s happened in a particular area, we can get that information out to the neighbors, and they may know who the suspect is, or a suspect vehicle,” said Sheriff Millsap.

Letterman is pleased with the way the program has taken off in Conway.

”The best part about it is helping others and ensuring that we have a safe community, for our kids.” said Letterman.

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