Neighborhood Watch meeting called for Midland-area residents

       Hope Fonseca first moved to the Midland area in 1963, and she doesn't think it's as safe as it used to be.
       So she and her daughter-in-law, Stephanie Sifford, called the Colorado Springs Police Department to see about setting up a Neighborhood Watch.
       A meeting with a police officer is scheduled Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. at Midland Elementary. 2110 W. Broadway St. All the residents of the Midland area - roughly defined as Highway 24 to Busch Avenue and 21st Street to the western city limits - are invited. “If it's standing room only, I'll be happy,” said Fonseca, who has been involved in the community in the past, including working with the Organization of Westside Neighbors, setting up a Midland homeowners association (dormant for several years) and running unsuccessfullly for City Council in 1985.
       Although the amount of reported crimes (31 over the past eight weeks) is less than in some areas of town, Fonseca and Sifford said they are seeing increasing crime issues, including drugs, vandalism, stolen vehicles and unseemly characters (including three registered sex offenders on Arch Street).
       “We have a lot of concerns for the safety of the neighborhood,” Fonseca said. “A lot of us in the Midland area felt we need to organize a Neighborhood Watch, so that's what's going on.”
       Sifford said that dozens of flyers about the meeting have already been handed out, and she plans to “knock on doors” en route to delivering about 500 in all.
       There's just one catch, according to Police Sgt. Robert Harris of the Gold Hill Substation, who heads up the Neighborhood Watch effort. Midland, about a square mile in size, is “far too big” to be a single Watch area. “We shoot for a target of 10 to 12 homes,” he said. Police have determined this to be about the right number for a block captain and residents to keep up with neighborhood security.
       Another key limitation is that a single Watch area only gets two signs, Harris said. However, he does not want to discourage concerned citizens and is willing to talk to anyone who is interested.
       Asked how such a large Neighborhood Watch area might work, Fonseca said she wasn't sure, but “people are very interested… I feel like it's the best way to go. I just want to have it safe, a family neighborhood again.”

Westside Pioneer article