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On September 22nd, the city of Chrisman continued their plan to make the town safer. The second meeting of the Neighborhood Watch group was held at City Hall. Founding members Scott Foster and Edgar County Sheriff Candidate Doug Cochran were present.
At the meeting held in August, it was decided that Illinois State Police Officer Kristopher Martinez will be in charge of the organizing. “I think the biggest plus is getting all these small communities together, especially ones that don’t have police presence or part time police,” Martinez said.
The importance of the neighborhood watch was felt when at the Chrisman Days Sesquicentennial Celebration, a citizen was arrested during the fireworks for aggravated assault. Something that most of the town was unaware of.
Chrisman Mayor Danny Owen received signs that will be posted up and down the highway as well as the square. More signs will be delivered and ordered in the next week or two. “The signs themselves will throw the criminals off balance,” said Doug Cochran.
Though not many were at this meeting, both Cochran and Foster told Martinez to not get discouraged. “It took six meetings to get Paris started,” Foster said. Mayor Owen added that this is a new program and it might take awhile to get people interested and involved.
Both Foster and Cochran have been traveling around Edgar County to get other towns involved in the program as well, with Kansas being the most recent to become involved. A meeting is scheduled for the town of Brocton in the future, but the village of Hume has some reservations.
“I was told there was no crime in Hume,” Cochran said.
With a town as small as Hume and as far away from other towns, this might be a program that they could benefit from.
The next step in the program is to get people interested. Foster stated that when the program in Paris began, he was walking up to doors, asking people if they would be interested in joining. “If I didn’t get an answer, I left a piece of paper close to their mailbox,” Foster said.
For Martinez, this will be his next step, going door to door, asking citizens if they would like to be involved or possibly interested in being a block captain. With Chrisman a small town, the town could be split into four sectors with each block captain responsible for twenty-five to thirty-five houses. Those in the sector will report suspicious activity to the block captain, who will then contact authorities. If the situation is an emergency, citizens are urged to by pass the block captain and call authorities themselves immediately.
The program is funded through grant money and donations. Ideas were tossed around about the possibility of having a 50/50 raffle at a home sporting event in order to raise funds to purchase more signs or any other necessities for the program to function.
The next meeting will be held in early November. A date has not been set, so be sure to check with the Chrisman Leader as well as join the Edgar County Neighborhood Watch Facebook page for more updates.