By Rebecca Rose

Harker Heights Herald

A new neighborhood watch program launches in Harker Heights this week.

"Jammin'" Jimmy Tittle, a DJ, has lived in the city for 12 years. He said a series of burglaries in his neighborhood prompted him to get his neighbors involved in protecting their community.

"We want all the neighbors to get to know each other," Tittle said.

Tittle reached out to Harker Heights Community Service Officer Dave Haley, who helped him plan and organize the meeting in his neighborhood. Tittle said about 40 people attended, looking for information on how to participate in the watch.

Tittle said the neighborhood watch program will focus on a section of Harker Heights made up of West Arlo Road, West Ruby Drive, South Juanita Drive, South Mary Jo Drive and Bonnie Drive. Five block captains will be assigned to oversee watch activities in each of those areas.

"You have to look out in the neighborhood if you see anything suspicious," Tittle said, explaining how the program works.

"You have to try to get as much detail as you can," he said. "Like a description of the person, or their car, to try and help the police out."

Haley said Tittle's efforts demonstrate how easy it is to get a neighborhood watch program started.

Haley said Harker Heights has eight active watch groups. Those programs have been proven to be effective crime deterrents in the city, he said.

"We've proven it drives crime out of an area," Haley said. "We had one of the worst mobile home parks in the area. They started a neighborhood watch program, and three months later, crime decreased."

Haley said members of neighborhood watch programs in other housing developments throughout the city have helped catch burglars in the act.

Haley said residents should call the police when they see something that looks suspicious or out of the ordinary, and provide as many details as possible.

"When you think something's not right, call the police," Haley said.

To celebrate the new program, Tittle will host a kickoff event at 6 p.m. Saturday at his home, 402 Bonnie Drive. For more information on the event or how to participate in the neighborhood watch program in the areas outlined in this article, call Tittle at (254) 833-0720.

Harker Heights residents interested in starting their own neighborhood watch program can call Haley at (254) 953-5410 to set up an information session.

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