Neighborhood watch program

Officer Dave Haley, community services officer for the Harker Heights Police Department, speaks to residents at Big Oaks Mobile Home Park about the process of starting a neighborhood watch program.

Melissa Pusker, 39, has lived in the Big Oaks Mobile Home Park along East Veterans Memorial Boulevard for the past 12 years. Earlier this month, at least six vehicle burglaries were reported in the mobile home park in a single night, she said, and others were victims of criminal activity.

Residents have grown tired of the crime in their own backyards and are now standing against it by reviving a neighborhood crime watch program.

“I love my neighborhood,” Pusker said, “It’s a wonderful place to live, everybody watches everybody else’s business and to put a neighborhood watch (together) would add to that.”

Puskar said cars have been burglarized over the years and her house was broken into. Jennifer Hemingway, 25, was also a victim of criminal activity.

“Recently, at Christmas time I hung up my Christmas lights and someone came through with a knife and cut all my Christmas wires,” she said. “(They also) sliced my patio swing and broke the metal piece on my door trying to get in causing $500 worth of damage.”

Harker Heights Police Department Community Services Officer Dave Haley recently led a community meeting at Big Oaks on the crime watch program.

“Harker Heights is one of the safest communities in Central Texas,” he said. “We are a small town, however, we still have meth heads and dope dealers in certain areas.”

Haley encouraged the park’s efforts and advised them that 80 percent of crimes are solved with the help of private citizens. He said it’s a system that’s effective and proven to work, but residents always have the option of reporting suspicious activity to police.

“If you see a suspicious person, you don’t shoot, stab or attack them,” he said. “Just be polite, and then you may never see them back in the area again.”

For information about starting neighborhood crime watch programs, call the Harker Heights Police Department at (254) 699-7600.

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