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Palmer police push for more neighborhood watch programs

By Shannon Ballard Photojournalist: Heather Hintze - 7:41 PM January 12, 2017

In wake of several high profile crimes and drug related thefts in the Mat-Su Borough, Palmer police are pushing people to get involved in neighborhood watch programs.

They say right now the Cedar Hills subdivision is the only neighborhood in Palmer that’s actively participating.

“I think its something every neighborhood should have because a lot of crime these days,” Cedar Hills resident Dianne Wilson said.

Some crimes find their way onto the “Stop Valley Thieves” Facebook page.

Founder Vicki Wallner urges people to take action.

“We’ve really pushed the fact that people need to know their neighbors, that is one of the biggest things that’s going to help you,” Waller said.

In her experience, Wallner says neighbors make the best first responders and can help keep crime at bay.

“Thieves hate an audience, so if they think that someone is watching they’ll go somewhere else,” Wallner said. “As we get more neighborhood watches started, you’ll see that thieves will move to places where they don’t have neighborhood watch.”

Officers with the Palmer Police Department agree.

“Even if we were happy, and we are not, we can do better with the community’s help,” Palmer police chief Lance Ketterling said.

The department has a box of brand new neighborhood watch signs waiting to be used.

This year they plan to hold more training sessions. The first one was Thursday evening.

“Neighborhood watch for the entire city really isn’t what we are looking for, we want the entire city really to be covered by neighborhood watch, but really it has to be block by block or subdivision by subdivision,” Ketterling said.

Neighborhood watch programs are designed to target specific needs or problems and create an information sharing network between citizens and police to reduce crime, according to Palmer police.

Neighbors are encouraged to get to know each other and observe and report suspicious actives.

KTVA 11’s Shannon Ballard can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

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