Yona comes together to fight crime
by Jolene Toves
Guam - Residents in the village of Yona are tired of being targeted, and they're coming together to keep their community safe.
Mary Eclavea is an administrative assistant at the Yona Mayor's Office and she says crime is on the rise in her village, telling KUAM News, "There's been reports coming through our phones and people coming in to see us in the last two months maybe about twenty or more burglaries have occurred."
As a result of the crime spree, the community is coming together and have formed a neighborhood watch program. "We had a neighborhood watch meeting," said Eclavea. "Thirty residents showed up to air their concerns and discuss how they could do more prevention. What ended up happening is we formed a committee."
Eclavea says residents are armed with cell phones and are looking out for suspicious persons or activity in their neighborhoods. The watch program was first implemented in the A.S. Balajadia area gaining an active response from the residents who support the proactive efforts to protect the community. "Neighbors are getting together airing their differences and their robberies some of the neighbors during our neighborhood watch meeting out of 30 people 15 of them were burglarized twice," she said.
The mayor's office plans on expanding the neighborhood watch program in all areas of Yona Village, creating multiple watch teams. Members of the mayor's staff patrol the village at certain hours of the night hoping to deter crime.
On the neighborhood watch team is Yona mayor recreational leader Steven Salas, who promised, "I will be fighting against all burglaries, criminal activity and I'm also a big recreation fan for the youth, and so by showing them a good example by being out there and stop these things."
Salas patrols the entire central village to include Pago Bay. Since the implementation of the neighborhood watch program, although still in its early stages of development, positive feedback can already be seen. Eclavea said, "They see our Yona truck go around and they see our mules going around and so they know there is some sort of watch going on. It has kind of slowed down but not to say on the other side of the village. It's not going on."
Deterring crime and protecting Yona residents is a goal of mayor Ken Joe Ada, listening to the concerns of residents led to the formation of the neighborhood watch program a promise by members of this community to stand tall remain vigilant in the fight against crime.