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Guyton citizens joining crime-fighting efforts
Neighborhood Watch
This sign and others like it will soon be erected in a Guyton neighborhood in a new effort to combat crime. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

 GUYTON — The Guyton City Council is hopeful that a firmer bond with citizens will strengthen the Guyton Police Department’s crime-fighting efforts.

During its May 11 meeting, the council approved a Neighborhood Watch Plan that was promoted by Chief James Breletic.

“A few months ago, one of our citizens came to us who had concerns about speeding cars and other kinds of items,” Breletic said. 

Breletic has since met with the citizen numerous times to devise a watch program. They intend to gather neighbors for meet-and-greet that is tentatively slated June 20.

“We are going to let them run this,” Breletic said. “This is not, you know, police citizens on patrol or anything. This is citizens working with law enforcement for the best bet.”

Signs to mark the watch area have already been purchased. They say, “We call the police.”

 “We want all the citizens within that area,” Breletic said. “This is a pilot program. That’s what we’re looking at and, hopefully, it will be lodged in the future for any neighborhood that wants to go forward with this.”

Breletic said traffic is the primary concern in the initial Neighborhood Watch area.

“It’s a great neighborhood,” he said. “It’s just that various people are using it as a cut-through and it is causing a lot of problems, and we need to cut that down.”

Breletic told the council that he plans to ask Georig Power about the possibility of making changes to the street lighting in the affected area.

“A lot of the lighting over there is completely dull,” he said. “It’s using the old-fashioned yellow lighting, which is good that it doesn’t attract bugs but it’s not very good for lighting. (Replacing it) would be a cost for the council and I would come back before the council and explain what that cost would be before anything would be done whatsoever.”

The plan also calls for a reduction in shrubbery overhanging limbs along the streets, especially at the corners.

“I think it’s a great idea, a great improvement for our city,” Councilman Marshall Reiser said. “It’s a reaction to a citizen’s concerns so I think it’s wise for this council to move forward ...”

Reiser made a motion to approve Breletic’s request, including funding for the June 20 meet-and-greet, and it received unanimous support.

Blighted houses are a concern for Breletic throughout the city. He asked for and received support a proposal to tackle them and the problems they produce, including rats and snakes.

“It’s not about the city getting involved and wanting to take somebody’s property or property rights,” he said. “What it’s about is everybody working together for safety and health issues.”

The chief said houses of concerns will be inspected and their owners notified of problems. Documentation, including photos, will be rigorous, he said.

“This lets an individual know where they stand,” he said.