Hawthorne Rallies to Crime Campaign : Neighborhood Watch Rings a Bell

A door-to-door campaign to boost interest in Moneta Gardens Neighborhood Watch has apparently paid off, according to the Police Department.

"It was standing room only," said community relations Sgt. Arvid Krueger about an evening meeting held at Zela Davis School cafeteria to enroll new members in the police-sponsored crime prevention program. He said 22 people agreed to start new Neighborhood Watch groups on their blocks. In some instances, large apartment buildings will have groups of their own.

"We think the community will now be pretty much covered," Krueger said.

On a recent Saturday morning, more than 40 Neighborhood Watch volunteers went into Moneta Gardens--a large, densely populated area in southeastern Hawthorne that has the city's highest crime rate--to boost membership in Neighborhood Watch, which teaches people about home security and how to be alert to criminal activity. Volunteers talked to residents, many of whom said they were concerned about crime, and passed out flyers in English and Spanish about the school meeting.

Krueger said the effort was concentrated on 17 blocks, or about half of Moneta Gardens, without organized Neighborhood Watch groups.

The turnout of several hundred at the meeting "was attributable to the walking that was done," Krueger said.

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