Passions run high at Frenchtown neighborhood watch meeting

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By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
September 12, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Members of the Frenchtown and Griffin Heights communities met with law enforcement on Thursday night for the first community crime watch and neighborhood crime prevention meeting.

Roughly 50 people turned out to learn more about the effort to reduce violent crime. The program is a citizen volunteer network that works with law enforcement by calling-in tips and acting as the eyes and ears of the community in areas where officers cannot be.

At times, tensions ran high during the meeting, with some residents voicing their concerns. Some said they were worried about retaliation by criminals.

"The idea is good. The implementation, that's going to be a different story," said life-long resident Bossman Jackson.

Others questioned the viability of the program, pointing out factors like the economy, education and criminal histories as the root of the crime issue.

"It's so many different facets that make this up. It's educational, it's socioeconomic," said Frenchtown resident Jeffrey Von Stein. "It's everything its just not treating the symptoms with the aspirin."

However, Chief of the Tallahassee Police Department Steve Outlaw said the meeting was a step in the right direction.

"You have to start with a sense of urgency and building relationships," he said. "We planted some seeds today."

The conversation also spawned several additional community ideas that would support and enhance the Neighborhood Watch program, like a partnership with the school district.

The meeting was hosted by the Tallahassee Urban League, Inc. and the Tallahassee Branch of the NAACP. A second introductory meeting is expected to be held in the near future, but a date has not yet been set.

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