Residents of a South Webster neighborhood gather for a Neighborhood Watch block party Saturday evening at the home of Ronna Stump in an effort to get to know one another better. Daily Leader photo/Jessica Crawford
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
A neighborhood on South Webster enjoyed a barbeque Saturday night complete with hamburgers, hotdogs and all the fixings. It was a party with a purpose – keeping the neighborhood safe as a part of the Neighborhood Watch Program.
“We are having a neighborhood block party to have everyone in the neighborhood meet each other and have everyone get to know each other,” resident Ronna Stump said. “That way, we can figure what cars belong to what houses and kind of watch out for each other.”
Stump and her roommate were the first in Liberal to conduct such an event, but hope the idea spreads throughout the city. Also, she hopes to continue to stay involved with her neighbors.
“This is the first one, so hopefully, we can continue to get together,” she said. “I encourage people to meet every so often to just meet and get together.”
Sergeant Jared Ratzlaff has been very active in bringing the Neighborhood Watch Program back to Liberal. He was happy with the turnout and hopes more neighborhoods will follow suit. Ratzlaff was in charge of the grilling operation and did a fine job, according to guests.
“Right now this is the only neighborhood involved, but hopefully this will be kind of a kickoff,” he said. “Maybe people will see this and see what they are doing. I am hoping this will be a good springboard for the town.
“And everyone who wants me to help cook at their neighborhood block party,” he added with a laugh, “I will.”
Ratzlaff continued to explain the importance of the Neighborhood Watch program. From lowering crime to building friendships, he said the program is beneficial in many ways.
“Neighborhood Watch is huge,” he said. “One, statistically, it has always dropped crime. And two, it just gets people to know their neighbors. Too many times people know their neighbors by sight but they may not know their name. They don’t know who actually lives there, if they are just visiting. It is more of a friendship building thing so they can put some ownership in their whole neighborhood, not just their little piece of land.”