BURRTON — It was a particularly scary situation that led Burrton resident AJ Barnes to spearhead efforts to form a neighborhood watch in her town.
"Recently, my husband and I had an intruder come to our home in the evening when we were home with our children," Barnes said. "...Even though we were in the home, he still proceeded to try to get in the house."
Though she and her husband were able to keep the would-be intruder from entering, Barnes said the event motivated her into taking action.
"We wanted to take this negative experience and turn it into a positive thing for our community," Barnes said.
Barnes noted Burrton's location along a major highway — and the extra traffic local businesses are drawing in from outside city limits — could make it a target for criminals.
"We're having a lot more people stop by in our community who don't live there, which increases the risk for people in town, which means we should be on a little higher alert to keep things like this from happening," Barnes said.
By forming a neighborhood watch, Barnes hopes to get Burrton residents to report details of suspicious activity, persons and vehicles to law enforcement. Barnes also praised the work of the police in Burrton, but also noted they could not be everywhere at once.
"The answer is not just to pull a gun and shoot somebody — that's not safe and can actually get the homeowner in trouble," Barnes said.
Barnes took her suggestion before the Burrton city council on Monday and said they were in favor of the formation of a neighborhood watch.
"I'm excited that the town is on board and we're getting some support," Barnes said.
Barnes will share materials from the National Neighborhood Watch organization at a meeting at 6 p.m. June 27 at the Burrton City Building, 203 N. Burrton Ave.
"We will be giving information on the program as well as assessing the top three safety concerns of the community," Barnes said.