LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Louisville Metro Police Department is working with residents of the Portland neighborhood to set up block watch groups.

A group called Portland Now Inc. meets once a month to discuss neighborhood activities and concerns. The group met Tuesday night and invited an officer to present information on how to create a block watch.

“A block watch is kind of an old idea,” said Officer Christina Beaven with LMPD's First Division. “You used to hear about block watches all the time, and now they’re resurrecting. People are taking ownership of their property, taking ownership of what they have.”

Beaven provided pamphlets with information on what to do, what not to do and answered questions.

“They want to try to show people that Portland is not the crime-ridden area that it’s portrayed to be,” Beaven said.

According to LMPD, property crime is down 31 percent and violent crime is down 46 percent in the last 12 months in Portland. Beaven said there’s a momentum in the neighborhood that is bringing restaurants, businesses and more people to the area.

“The community of Portland is really starting to become this up-and-coming community,” she said. “Crime is down quite a bit, and I think they want to keep the ball rolling with a block watch.”

Any neighborhood or apartment complex can start a block watch. Beaven said you just reach out to your LMPD Division and an officer will be assigned to visit your meetings. That officer will provide information on how to organize a group, what to look for and how to report information to police. Beaven said the block watch is not meant to patrol or take the place of police officers.

“We never want anyone to be a vigilante and take crime into their own hands from that standpoint,” she said. “It’s really an arm of the police.”

The group will then set up a captain and co-captain, schedule regular meetings and commit to watching out for one another. Beaven said the more people who are more aware of their surroundings, the more likely someone will notice something wrong and call for help. She said that helps bridge the gap between the community and police so they can build a stronger neighborhood together.

“Everyone deserves a safe community to live in, and a block watch helps with that,” Beaven said.

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