BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Billings Police Crime Prevention Center has supported neighborhood watch programs for many years by forwarding newsletters and requiring captains to update phone trees.  However, according to a Facebook post CPC released on September 11, 2019, the Crime Prevention Center feels -- in this day in age -- their support is no longer necessary.  The CPC says they believe people can access information faster online rather than waiting for an email or newsletter.

"If you need us were still here," says Crime Prevention Center Volunteer Coordinator Kallie Parsons, "if you want that presentation for your block, we can still come out and do that.  We're just not requiring you to submit everything to us."

Parsons says active neighborhood watch programs can still keep phone trees and forward newsletters among themselves, and she encourages neighbors to keep in touch and share or report any suspicious activity.

"Any successful neighborhood watch program is staying in contact with their neighbors whether it be Facebook or one of the neighborhood apps," explains Parsons, "just the old fashioned way 'hi, how are you doing?' type of thing and all of them are okay.  For whatever works, we support 100%.  If people need anything, we are still here for them.  We are just not collecting all the information from people starting a neighborhood watch like we used to."

Parsons says there are around thirty active neighborhood watch programs in the city of Billings.

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