CINCINNATI — Cincinnati neighborhood leaders gathered on Monday to discuss a possible solution to the growing amount of violent crime in the city over the last year: neighborhood watch programs.
The goal of expanding these programs is to get neighbors talking with one another, leaders said.
"A lot of people they, even though they live five feet away from each other, they don't know the person that lives next door," said John Donaldson, captain of the Grant Park Block Watch.
The Grant Park Block Watch has worked to secure new cameras and lights for the community, which has been hit hard by gun violence. Leaders want to see similar groups in every neighborhood.
Currently, the only active neighborhood watch groups are in Madisonville, Mt. Washington and College Hill.
Kevin Corey, executive director of the Wesley Chapel Mission Center, said he thinks kids should be more involved, too.
"They're 100% of the future," he said. "If we don't have the kids engage or we don't have a, somebody who represents the voice of the kids, what difference have we really made?"
Community leaders said getting residents to a point where they feel comfortable talking to one another and with police is key to curbing violence and solving many of the crimes that have already been committed.
"When you collectively come together and say, 'We don't want this,' then people will respect that," said Andria Carter, community engagement specialist with the Community Partnering Center. "Right now everyone's getting away with a lot of stuff because that moral voice is so dented."
Donaldson agreed and said residents need to realize if they don't do anything to help their neighborhood improve, it won't get better.
City leaders plan to hold another meeting on Nov. 1 at the Evanston Recreation Center to walk people through the process of starting their own neighborhood watch group in their area.