"We do [have] a neighborhood watch program," Sheriff Clark Millsap said. "Unfortunately, we don't get requests for it anymore."
Adairsville's program began in 2011, and Chief Robert Jones believes the watches are running smoothly.
"It's working out well," Jones said. "That's where we get a lot of our calls. A lot of people are giving us a call when they see suspicious activity. They're building that phone tree that they're supposed to have."
Throughout unincorporated Bartow County, patrols have been increased in efforts to combat increased burglary reports, and Millsap attributes this reason for the lack of expressed desires for neighborhood programs.
"We're out here busting these neighborhoods wide open every chance we get," Millsap said. "We're hitting neighborhoods trying to catch someone breaking into houses. In the daytime, we're patrolling hard -- as hard as we can. I would love to accredit that [increase] to that."
An increase in burglary and lack of neighborhood watch programs could be related to neighbors who do not know one another. Both the Cartersville Police Department and Millsap agree that meeting neighbors is important.
"It's not like in the old days if you had a neighbor close enough you'd meet out in the yard and talk for an hour at a time or you shared a garden together," Millsap said. "Nobody wants to get involved. People come home from work, they do their yard work then they go inside and lock the door. When I was growing up, the windows in the house were open, we'd leave and the door would be unlocked, we'd sleep with windows open, the car would be in the driveway with the keys in the ignition."
When new neighbors move into an area or residents relocate, CPD recommends that citizens introduce themselves to one another.
"If you see someone moving in, go over, introduce yourself, and welcome the newcomers to the neighborhood," CPD Lt. Mark Camp said. "No one says you have to become close friends, but it lets you know who is living in your neighborhood. If you have a neighborhood watch, kindly let them know that they can be assured that when they are not home someone will be keeping an eye out in their place and invite them to do the same when they are home. This lets them know there is a neighborhood watch but does so in a non-threatening manner."
For those involved in neighborhood watch programs, Jones and Camp agree on tips residents should follow.
"The main thing members of a neighborhood watch need to be is good witnesses," Camp said. "They should never take the law into their own hands. They should be eyes and ears, and if they see or hear something suspicious, immediately notify the police. Do not intervene. Do not approach with a firearm. Dial 911 and maintain a safe, secure distance. Give the dispatcher as good of a description as possible of the person or persons involved, vehicles if any, license plate(s), address of suspicious activity, etc. Again, provide as much detail as possible without giving themselves away. The main thing is not to put themselves or anyone else in danger."
Overall, Jones views the neighborhood watches as an extension of the community-oriented policing strategy employed by the agency.
"That's how we help expand our community policing is by educating them on crime before it happens and what to do if they see crime," Jones said. "Definitely do not do what happened down in Florida. Don't try to confront them yourself. Just call us. Call 911. Let us do the work. You be the eyes, we'll do the work."
For more information or to request a demonstration and establishment of a neighborhood watch program, contact the Bartow County Sheriff's Office at 770-382-5050.