Stepping Up Neighborhood Watch Programs in Fernley

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FERNLEY, Nev. - About a hundred people gathered at Fernley City Hall Wednesday night to discuss ways to make their communities safer. The meeting comes nearly seven weeks after four murders in two Fernley neighborhoods. A lot of the discussion focused on ways to strengthen the city's neighborhood watch programs.

“We'd really like to see people get engaged and start pulling those neighborhood watch groups together,” Fernley City Manager Chris Good said. “Neighborhood watch is about more than looking out your window and making sure there aren't any bad guys in your neighborhood. It's about getting to know your neighbors and these groups can develop to address other neighborhood issues like child care, youth recreation and other things that affect the neighborhood.”

The suspect in the Fernley murders, 25-year-old Jeremiah Bean, lived on the same street where two of the victims were found. Participation in neighborhood watch groups has declined in recent years; the hope is to get more residents behind those programs.

“We moved to a quiet neighborhood and we're very fortunate that we know a lot of our neighbors,” Fernley resident Shirley Goldberg said. “We tend to look after each other. With this event I think it's really important that the community come together and sponsor these neighborhood watches. We feel like we need to take a stand and it's very important we branch out and know more about the neighborhood and the people that live there.”

Several security companies were on hand to offer additional options for those looking to protect their homes.

“We're here to give people another tool in keeping their homes safe,” Bubby Coffey of ADT Security said. “I think having a sign in your front yard is a deterrent. It's not a guarantee but if they hear the alarm sound they're pretty likely to be out of that neighborhood pretty quickly. We tell people to lock their doors, don't tell people when you're out of town, have an alarm system and work with your neighbors to keep your neighborhood secure.”

The City of Fernley and the Lyon County Sheriff's Office is working closely with residents to address their concerns and needs.

“I don't think the people in Fernley reacted with fear, I don't think they're scared,” Good said. “I think they're looking for things they can do in response to the recent events and we're going to give them those tools.”