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Volunteers Wanted For New Neighborhood Watch In Bridgeport

By Ed Komenda | December 4, 2015 6:14am | Updated on December 8, 2015 8:51am
 Kimberly Lazo envisions a day when there’s a “block watch” on every block of the 11th Ward.
Kimberly Lazo envisions a day when there’s a “block watch” on every block of the 11th Ward.
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DNAinfo/Ed Komenda

BRIDGEPORT — Kimberly Lazo is looking for “block watchers."

After a rash of burglaries in the 11th Ward, the 51-year-old Bridgeport native wants to start a watch group focused on curbing crime and running troublemakers out of the neighborhood.

“We want to chase them out,” Lazo said. “We’re just watching out for our neighbors.”

At the Deering District’s CAPS meeting Tuesday night, Lazo and a group of about a dozen supporters plan to ask the public to volunteer to keep a close watch on what’s unfolding on their blocks.

Lazo envisions a day when there’s a “block watch” — a band of citizens dedicated to keeping their eyes peeled — on every block of the 11th Ward.

For the past five years, a similar group has been rolling through the neighborhood, calling in gangbanger sightings and drug deals brewing outside blighted buildings.

Lazo wants the new group to focus on burglary prevention. She even dreamed up a system she hopes will help local folks ward off crime before it happens.

The system works like this: If you see something suspicious or illegal developing on your block, you call the police — and then you call Lazo, who will then shoot out a group text to volunteer drivers to roll into the area to see what’s happening.

If nothing else, Lazo said, more movement in the neighborhood’s trouble spots could shake up criminals and scare the bad guys away.

Suzy Ramirez, a Bridgeport local who runs a Facebook group that publishes crime alerts, plans to volunteer as a block watcher.

“Once Kim gets this group together, I can see the crime lowering in Bridgeport,” she said. “I think this group is what we needed to help each other and get our neighborhood back."

On her crime page, Ramirez encourages neighborhood folks to download police scanner apps to their cellphones and listen for police chatter about what they’re seeing on the beat.

Lazo, who splits her time driving an Uber for extra cash and taking care of her grandchildren, said the uptick in crime has made her reluctant to teach her 10-year-old grandson how to ride a bike.

“It’s too scary out there,” Lazo said. “You have to worry about people walking by knocking him off.”

With any hope, Lazo said, the new watch group will bring Bridgeport back to the old days, when the neighborhood wasn’t afraid to walk down the block.

“We want it back to feeling like a close-knit community like it used to be,” Lazo said. “Everybody watching out. It’s not like that anymore. It’s too scary out there.”

To learn more about the watch group, show up at the CAPS meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Deering District headquarters, 3120 S. Halsted St.

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