Rise in Fresno's crime brings neighbors together

FRESNO, Calif.

In just the last two weeks, the president of Fresno's Neighborhood Watch has heard from more than two dozen individuals inquiring about starting Neighborhood Watches throughout Fresno. It's an old fashioned crime prevention tool that's now popping up in new areas.

Gary Oldham spends his nights walking around his East Central Fresno Apartment complex, accompanied by his nine month old lab. It started after a neighbor's house was burglarized. "I've seen people looking, walking around, looking into people's windows around two or three in the morning. I've caught people taking off locks off people's garages, and then taking off after they've seen me," said Oldham.

Oldham splits the night duty with three others and is now in the process of forming a neighborhood watch inside the apartment complex. "I have a neighbor next door to me who will not go out after dark, he refuses to go outside after dark. That's ridiculous. As long as I'm around, I'm not going to be afraid to go outside after dark," said Oldham.

Oldham isn't alone. The president of Fresno's Neighborhood Watch, Roz Clark, says interest in the program is up city wide in neighborhoods and apartment complexes. "In the 80's and 90's it kind of spiked. And then it kind of went down. And now we're starting to see another spike," said Roz Clark.

Clark attributes the increase to the economy and the launch of Fresno's Crime Watch, a website that shows people crime in their neighborhood and provides a direct link to Neighborhood Watch.

Fresno isn't the only city seeing a rise in burglaries. Clovis police volunteers hit the streets Tuesday, looking for garage doors left open. When they found them, they gave out flyers warning people they could be inviting criminals. "I think our job right now is to get out there and let people know right now you need to be careful and take care what it yours," said volunteer Kent Manchester.

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