Lafayette Police Stress Importance Of Neighborhood Watch Programs In Keeping Communication Open Between Citizens And Police
George Zimmerman was found "Not Guilty" over the weekend in the death of Trayvon Martin. Obviously, Zimmerman's role as a neighborhood watch volunteer played a huge part in the trial. With that in mind, we decided to have a conversation with Lafayette Police Spokesman Corporal Paul Mouton, who is the coordinator for the neighborhood watch programs in Lafayette.
"During this whole trial thing...they constantly brought up Zimmerman's involvement," points out Cpl. Mouton. "And the last thing we want to do is discourage people. Because a neighborhood watch program is probably one of the most positive programs that we have working for us because it allows police and the neighborhoods to communicate on a regular basis, but it also reminds them to be vigilant and aware of what's going on in their neighborhood and to report that information to police," says Cpl. Mouton. He stressed calling 911, whether you are a neighborhood watch volunteer or not, if you see a suspicious situation.
So, how prevalent are neighborhood watch programs in Lafayette? Cpl. Mouton says there are about 30 neighborhood watch programs in Lafayette; not all of them necessarily active but "they continue to communicate." He says LPD definitely encourages more of the programs. Cpl. Mouton says if you are interested in starting a program in your neighborhood, you can contact him by email at PMouton@LafayetteLA.gov or by phone at (337) 291-8600. "It takes one person to take the bull by the horns in the neighborhood and be real active and contacting myself at the Police Department...and requesting information," says Cpl. Mouton. He says he then sends the information to them, gives them a chance to go over it and then sets up a meeting time to go over how important the neighborhood watch program is to the Lafayette Police Department.
Cpl. Mouton also talked about how neighborhood watch volunteers can use technology, specifically pointing out using email and facebook, to get the word out about a suspicious situation to the other volunteers. "Neighborhood Watch is about watch; it's not about taking action. And so we encourage people to be vigilant, to watch what's going on and definitely pass that information on to the police so we can get someone out there and handle that situation."
To listen to Cpl. Mouton's complete interview on "Your Afternoon Drive Home," as he discussed other issues pertaining to neighborhood watch programs and addressed the increase of violent crime in Lafayette, CLICK BELOW: