NORTH BAY -- The North Bay Police Service is looking at resurrecting the local Neighbourhood Watch program.

Officers will be seeking public feedback from the community in the new year to see if they want it back as a way to put halt to crime and suspicious activity.

“It's a continuous mission for us to get out to people and what's required for successful policing," said Const. John Schultz

Schultz said each neighbourhood faces different concerns when it comes to crime, from drug use to break and enters to property theft. If implemented, each neighbourhood can decide what safety issues it wants addressed.

"It's about making yourself less of a target,” said Schultz. “We can't help them unless they tell us.”

Has 5,500 members

North Bay resident Cynthia Morrow and her spouse David Gabriel started their own Neighbourhood Watch group on Facebook in 2017, which now has 5,500 members. The couple has been a victim to petty theft in the past. They are thrilled to see police are looking into bringing the program back.

"There's not a lot of violent crimes, but we have a lot of small things,” said Gabriel. “It's high and out of control. Our truck got broken into multiple times. I’ve lost expensive stuff like prescription sunglasses."

The Neighbourhood Watch community program was popular in the 1970s and 1980s until demand dropped in the early 1990s. Police said recently, there has been a lot of interest from the public to bring it back.

"If people want a Neighbourhood Watch program, we would certainly need help facilitating it," said Schultz, adding neighbourhoods in the city would be broken into sections with different captains and administrators.

Each Neighbourhood Watch would consist of about 20-40 homes on the same street or city block.

"We need to address all of this criminal activity and the criminal element have to know that we're watching and we are reporting," said Morrow. “If we all work together as a community, just watch each other’s back, work with the police and report things, then eventually it’s going to make a difference.”

Schultz said if the program launches, officers and neighbourhoods will hold meetings to suggest crime-prevention tips.