Neighborhood watch to increase presence

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — With the advent of several drug busts early in the year, the Gallipolis Neighborhood Watch is stepping up its recruiting efforts and keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.

According to organization President Marvin Vanderburg, 12 members regularly meet with at the Gallipolis Justice Building on Second Avenue at 1:30 p.m. the first Monday of every month. With several drug busts in Gallia over the last month, law enforcement and the watch are looking to increase crime information gathering efforts as well.

“Tips from the public always give us an idea of where we need to be focusing our investigations,” said Gallipolis Police Chief Jeff Boyer. “It takes us awhile to sit on a house as we observe it. If you know your neighborhood, you know the type of people who aren’t normally there.”

Gallia Sheriff Matt Champlin said in his campaign, the goal of law enforcement collaboration in the area would be to make the area so uncomfortable for dealers that they would think twice before setting up shop within Gallia. The watch seeks to build on the momentum gained by law enforcement in recent weeks.

According to Vanderburg, various streets throughout town have “watch captains” which keep an eye on local talk and activity and communicate with the rest of the watch’s network.

The watch is also part of the Gallia County Citizens for Prevention and Recovery.

The coalition consists of area nonprofits such as God’s Hands at Work, the Field of Hope Community Campus, as well as behavioral health organizations such as Wing Haven, Health Recovery Services, the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office, the Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office, Holzer Health System, Gallipolis City Commission, the Gallia County Health Department and more.

The coalition’s Substance Abuse Awareness and Coalition Recruitment Event Programming Committee plans to hold a “Local Help for Local Folks” event at Bossard Memorial Library March 28 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Event organizers hope to spotlight local drug addiction fighting resources.

To send concerns or tips to the Gallipolis Police Department, call 740-446-1313. To send tips to the Gallia Sheriff’s Office, call 740-446-6555. For more information about the watch, visit the Gallipolis Neighborhood Watch Facebook page.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright