Neighborhood Watch Groups Keeping Watchful Eye on Their Streets

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

For these neighborhood watch members, cleaning up College Street isn't their occasional inspiration, it's their daily passion.

"This used to be one of the city's most prestigious neighborhoods. We want to bring that back," Sam Furman said.

"This is my home, this is my neighborhood, this is where I want to be the rest of my life," Becky Lichty said.

However, group members had a fresh ugly topic at their meeting Wednesday night, just hours after a shooting on South Third Street.

"We had a chance to talk, vent and express concern, but I think we all went away feeling pretty good," Lichty said.

While nearby witnesses voiced safety concerns, members say peace, not violence, is the daily norm. They point to the watch group's addition of trash cans and input from the Rockford Housing Authority as proof of the positives that get overlooked when a negative creeps in.

"It doesn't happen with our people. It's usually done by other people. These are good people."

And though members admit that drug trades occasionally filter in, they're proud of their joint efforts with police that shut down drug houses, and shut out a majority of problems.

"It's a reality that we have to face that happens in this neighborhood, but we don't have to take it lying down," Furman said.

And as veteran members bring in new members, multiple guard dogs say they're organized and unified to have their neighborhood thriving again.

"We are going to take our neighborhood back to where it once was," Lichty said.

"For the troublemakers, I'd like to say that we aren't going to take it , you might as well take your trouble out in this neighborhood," Furman said.


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