JeffCo Sheriff's Office encourages online neighborhood watch - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

JeffCo Sheriff's Office encourages online neighborhood watch

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Joshua Payne helped create the Bagley Corner Neighborhood Watch's Facebook page a year ago.

Since then, it has grown to more than 900 members

"That's 900 sets of eyes that are out here watching, that wouldn't be out there if it weren't for something like this that we're trying to take advantage of to do our part and help better our community," says Payne. "It really utilizes and gets more eyes out there to help us keep our neighborhood safe."

Online neighborhood watches allow residents to stay connected and keep tabs on what goes on in their community. "Sharing" with each other and with law enforcement.

"If a house gets broken into, you post on this network a vehicle description, what was taken, things like that," explains Payne. "You've got people out there looking, they can alert the (JeffCo) Sheriff's department and they're on it quicker than if the Sheriff's were out there looking by themselves."

Sgt. Jack Self, with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office confirms social media works in the fight against criminals.

"We can monitor those watch groups if we are a member, look and see what's going on in the neighborhood and if there's something we need to address, we can do so," Self says. "We view the neighborhood watch programs as a force multiplier. People will just submit to us a tip about what's going on in their neighborhood. They'll report a problem they are seeing and we can act on it. Not all of the tips we get are accurate, but it give us a starting point, it helps us to track those people down."

Payne recommends other communities follow suit.

"There's not many areas out there that have 900 deputies on the street keeping their community safe, that is a definite advantage for us and for anybody who is thinking about it, I would strongly," Payne says.

For a link to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Facebook page click here.