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Business Watch is a good idea for downtown Fort Dodge

Those who live and work downtown should reactivate group

Scattered throughout the residential sections of Fort Dodge are places labeled Neighborhood Watch areas. In those areas, the people are committed to keeping an eye on what goes on around them with the goal of promptly reporting anything that seems suspicious to the police.

That concept moved from residential neighborhoods to the business community of Fort Dodge in 2012. That year, local financial institutions started Bank Watch. It is an organized way for banks to share information to help prevent them from being the victims of crime.

The Neighborhood Watch concept then moved to downtown retailers about three years ago when a Business Watch group was formed. Unfortunately, that group has gone dormant. Leaders of Main Street Fort Dodge are now trying to reactivate it.

We think that is a good idea.

Those kinds of watch groups increase the quality of life by reducing the impact of crime.

”Most importantly, it establishes the connection between our citizens, our businesses and our law enforcement,” Joelyn Johnson, a school and community resource officer for the Fort Dodge Police Department, said at a recent Main Street Matters session.

”The best thing our community can be for our Police Department is to be our eyes and ears,” she added.

She said citizens should observe and report things to police, providing as much information as they can. She said they can also take photos of things that concern them and show those photos to police.

But while doing that, citizens should not confront people or put themselves in any dangerous situations.

Johnson and her fellow police officers can provide lots of good advice for doing a proper downtown Business Watch. We urge everyone who works or lives downtown to get involved in Business Watch to make the city’s center a safer place.