Centralia to hold second symposium, address Neighborhood Watch steps

CENTRALIA — Following a well-attended Drug Awareness and Violence Symposium in March, and in response to the interest in establishing Neighborhood Watches, the City of Centralia has announced the second Drug Awareness and Violence
Symposium will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Community Youth Center on Rexford Street in Centralia.

The symposium will be moderated by Judge Ericka Sanders, and a panel of citizens who have created Neighborhood Watches in Centralia and Salem will explain how to form a neighborhood watch, including the recruiting and organizing of neighbors; the importance of communicating and coordinating with the Centralia Police Department; and the development of an action plan to address member concerns.

A 2008 U.S. Justice Department study found that citizen policing programs were associated with a “significant reduction in crime.”

The same study also found, however, that higher crime areas were more reluctant to organize an effective neighborhood watch.

Judge Sanders states that “[i]n the last 20 years, many of our neighborhoods have become high crime areas and that we must admit and recognize that there are multiple areas of our community where parents cannot allow their children to go outside and play for fear of running into a drug deal or where citizens are afraid that their homes will be burglarized. Our community will become safer if we come to terms with these fears, become intolerant of those who perpetrate them, and organize and act together. The creation of Neighborhood Watches is the first step.”

The second Drug Awareness and Violence Symposium will be held at the Community Youth Center, 1224 East Rexford Street, in Centralia on May 21 at 7pm. Citizens from every neighborhood of the Centralia area are encouraged to attend.