MEXICO — For the second time in two months, the Police Department held a meet-and-greet at the police station to discuss plans for the upcoming neighborhood watch program.

A dozen people gathered Monday in the police station’s conference room, where Chief Roy Hodsdon and several Mexico Explorers reported the Dec. 3 meet-and-greet.

Topics discussed included day burglaries, which Hodsdon said have become more prevalent in Mexico as of late.

“What burglars will do now is send a female to your door,” he said. “They’ll knock on the door, and if you answer, they’ll say something like, ‘I’m looking for Joe Smith,’ and when you say, ‘There’s no Joe Smith here,’ they’ll leave. If you’re not home, however, they’ll send a couple of guys to the back window, smash it in, and they’ll be in and out of your house before you come home.

“That’s a trend that’s going on quite a bit right now,” Hodsdon said. “Daytime burglaries are on the rise. What bothers me about that is if someone is taking a nap on their couch and doesn’t hear someone come in.”

He said burglars will take the time to “scout the neighborhood and take notes.”

“They’ll notice when you’re home or when you’re not home,” he said. “Sometimes, they even make shopping lists of items they want to find.”

Hodsdon reminded residents that the neighborhood watch program did not give people license to be “vigilantes.”

“That’s not what this thing is about,” he said. “I don’t want people driving around with guns and getting themselves into danger. That’s what we get paid for over here. The point of the group is for people to keep their eyes open and pay attention to what’s going on. If you see something, call us and let us know.”

One resident suggested the Police Department use the town board outside of the Town Office to advertise the crime-watch program.

“That’s actually a great idea,” Hodsdon said. “The only issue is that you have to reserve the board to use it, but I’ll look into it.”

Resident John Kelley told Hodsdon that “not everyone gets the newspaper nowadays” and the Police Department should consider calling those who agree to be in the neighborhood watch to remind them that a meeting is approaching.

“We’re trying to use all kinds of different media,” Hodsdon told Kelley. “We’re using the Police Department’s Facebook account to try and get the word out there.”

Hodsdon’s wife, Renee, said, “Once we figure out everyone that has joined, we’ll be able to make telephone calls.”

Hodsdon told residents that he had guest speakers in mind for future meetings, including dispatchers and deputies with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office.

“I’ve already talked with Oxford County, and they said we may be able to visit a 911 dispatch center, so you can see what they do and why they do it,” Hodsdon said. “Either that, or they can come and visit, if that’s something you’re interested in.”

After this winter, Hodsdon said he would like to get neighborhood watch signs for certain areas.

“I already have a couple of residents who said they’d like to help purchase signs,” the chief said. “The Mexico Explorers said they’d do fundraising to help raise money, and I’ll be looking at different grants to help out.”

The idea for the neighborhood watch program came from reserve police officer Cam Barrieau, Hodsdon said.

“Cam came up to me last spring, around the time the burglaries in town were increasing, and proposed the idea of a neighborhood watch for our town, and I told him that I thought it’d be a great idea,” the chief said. “It’s always been in the back of our mind as something we should do.”

Hodsdon said the next neighborhood watch meeting, which will be considered the “first official meeting,” is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19. at the police station.

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