Riverton residents and business owners discuss the next steps in forming a Community Watch program

(Riverton, WY) Riverton residents and business owners came together for the rescheduled Community Watch meeting last Thursday night in the City Hall Chambers, giving their input and ideas for starting a neighborhood watch program, with Mayor Richard Gard and Riverton Chief of Police Eric Murphy present to guide and contribute to the group discussion.

Riverton resident Greg Tallabas, initiator of the program, has spearheaded the project and said that the next steps would involve forming zones of participating neighborhoods, starting with his own, with the hope that more of the city’s neighborhoods and areas would join in the formation of a watch network.

Police Chief Eric Murphy was pleased with the turnout at the meeting, considering that past efforts for a neighborhood watch had fallen short. “This is very good to see,” he said. “Any help we can get from you, we welcome with open arms.”

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Attendees at the meeting voiced their issues and concerns about recent shootings, car thefts, and increased gang activity and offered suggestions for the program. Murphy said that Riverton’s crime rate had risen significantly over the last six months, stating that the 28 sworn police officers that work the streets answer to about 30-40 calls in a 24-hour period.

“We’re extremely busy,” he said. “It has gotten really bad. Over the past couple of months, we’re getting 3-4 stolen cars per night. It is really getting out of hand, and we need this kind of help, so I really appreciate Greg’s willingness to do this right now.”

Police Chief Eric Murphy and Mayor Richard Gard contribute to the Community Watch discussion.

Tallabas suggested measures where residents could take action now, such as installing motion-sensitive lights, cameras linked to phone apps, distribution of neighborhood watch signage, and the forming of a private Facebook group. “Lock your doors,” Murphy added. “Take your car keys with you. If you see something, say something.”

It was also suggested that a community barbecue event be held in the Riverton City Hall parking lot to initiate and develop the watch program, as well as to provide an opportunity for residents to come together and form their own watch networks in their neighborhoods.

The next Riverton Community Watch meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 11 at 7 p.m. in the Riverton City Hall chambers. Agenda items will include a Zoom presentation, educational and training materials distributed, as well as more discussion and ideas about how to move the watch program forward.

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For more information, contact Greg Tallabas at 307-463-2978 or email: [email protected].

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