Welsh residents won’t tolerate crime in their area

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WELSH — After a rash of shootings, break-ins, thefts and other crimes, residents here are hoping to take their community back by showing criminals they won’t be tolerated.

The steering committee of Welsh Citizens Concerned for Public Safety discussed steps Tuesday to organize Neighborhood Watch and Crime Stoppers programs to help make their neighborhoods safe. “People normally watch out for their neighbors, but having a Neighborhood Watch program gives them a cause and purpose to,” resident Mike Fender said.

Fender has agreed to pilot a Neighborhood Watch program on Rice Street. Fewer than a dozen homes line the short street, just off U.S. 90.

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“We want to establish a working community of Neighborhood Watch, and hopefully it will spread to other parts of town,” Fender said.

Committee chairman Jim Wright said the group will use Fender’s neighborhood as a “test area” before developing the program on a larger scale in other parts of the town.

Residents will be asked to contribute $20 to establish the program and cover the cost of signs and decals, Fender said.

“If people contribute to the program, they will take it serious,” Wright said. “Our goal is to see this happen neighborhood by neighborhood.”

Calcasieu Parish Crime Stoppers has agreed to provide Welsh residents with a safe place to report information on unsolved crimes or fugitives. Residents can call 439-2222 to report the information.

The group hopes to establish a local number in the future, Wright said.

Residents won’t be asked their names, and no one in Welsh will know what they have reported, Fender said.

Crime Stoppers will forward the information to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, without giving callers’ names. Callers will only be identified by code numbers given to them when they call.

Welsh Citizens Concerned for Public Safety was formed in late July. Since then more than 200 people have reportedly joined the group, which is led by a 13-member steering committee of ministers, businessmen and residents.

The group plans to hold a community meeting next month to update residents on progress being made since the group met with residents in August.