GUAM - A rise in crime across the island and in light of the more recent home invasion has sparked the Barrigada mayor's office to take a proactive stance in protecting their community and its residents. Burglaries, home invasions, automotive theft are crimes of opportunity where in the eyes of the thieves, the gain outweighs the chances of capture. However being a proactive vigilant member of a community can easily sway those chances and deter crime. Barrigada mayor June Blas understands the odds and in her effort to gain the upper hand on crime in her village is launching a neighborhood watch program.

"Families just got so fed up with a bunch of robberies in the area so we started getting together and said okay, vice mayor lets spearhead this and be very positive about it lets start working together get the residents get a meeting out so that there will be a lot of awareness" Blas explained.

The Barrigada mayor's office has been working closely with the Guam Police Department and the auxiliary programs seeking their help in development of the watch program.

Guam Crime Stoppers coordinator officer Paul Tapao elaborates, "We have been meeting for the last month and a half under weekly basis with different constituents within the villages going over the approach and the regulations that they are going to follow. We are reaching out to the community and letting the constituents own their own village watch program we are just acting as a liaison going over different procedures and approaches in how to establish a functional village watch program."
 
The statistics of burglaries alone on island are startling. According to Tapao, in burglaries alone for the month of May 107 burglaries were reported -- Eight of those occurred in Barrigada to include two car thefts and three home invasion type crimes. Even more alarming is that residents were home at the time of the incident.

Tapao says that villages that have implemented a neighborhood watch program on the island have been successful in deterring and reducing the amount of crimes reported. A village meeting was held last night. The mayor invited the consul general from Chuuk and Palau, the attorney general and GPD chief of police to address the concerns of the residents as well as answer questions and provide information on how members of the community can participate in the watch program. For more information on how you can participate in the neighborhood watch program contact the Barrigada mayor's office at 734-3724.