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Hi-diddly-ho, Neighborino - Odessa American: News

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Hi-diddly-ho, Neighborino

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Posted: Monday, August 6, 2007 12:00 am

The misappropriation of a neighbor’s motor prompted Mike Parker to help form a Neighborhood Watch.

“The motor got stolen off of it. The boat was just sitting in the carport,” Parker said. “He asked me if I’d seen anything, and I hadn’t.”

That was four or five years ago, he said, and “We haven’t had a theft or burglary since we’ve started.”

Tonight Parker is hosting a block party in his East 11th Street neighborhood as part of the 24th annual National Night Out.

This is Odessa’s 14th year to participate in the event, said Susan Rogers, executive director of Odessa CrimeStoppers.

She said it’s a great way for people to meet new neighbors, see ones they already know and meet law enforcement officers who patrol the neighborhood.

Not only did Parker’s group halt crime in his neighborhood, but relationships established with city officials paved the way for improvements to a nearby intersection prone to car wrecks.

“The Neighborhood Watch had a foot in the door with working with these people in the city government to help us out,” Parker said.

Having people willing to report suspicious activity is also important to the Ector County Sheriff’s deputies, who patrol very large, wide-open areas of land, Sheriff Mark Donaldson said.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Roy Gladden, in the crime prevention training unit, said, “There’s only just so many of us. We can’t be everywhere.”

With people outdoors eating at pot-luck dinners, attending block parties and receiving visits from McGruff the Crime Dog, tonight just might be one of the safest nights of the year, said Odessa police Cpl. Jamie Brown.

“It would take a real lunatic to go somewhere where everybody is out in the neighborhood, to pick that area and to try to break into something,” he said.

Odessa, TX

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