Although several "Neighborhood Watch" communities exist across Broome County, representatives of the sheriff's office are prepared to help residents develop new groups.

Deputy Robert Stapleton, who oversees the agency's community policing division, said he works to educate members of existing Neighborhood Watch programs.

Speaking on News Radio WNBF, Stapleton said he provides information about what to look for and what to report. He makes available crime data that is relevant to a specific area.

Stapleton said the goal is to encourage people who observe suspicious activity to report it to the appropriate law enforcement agency. He stressed it's important for people not to get involved in the apprehension of potential suspects. He said "we don't want anyone to be a vigilante but we do want them to be our eyes and ears when we can't be around."

Stapleton said those interested in establishing a group should talk with as many neighbors as possible in an effort to start working as a team to help address crime issues.

People interested in learning more about the National Neighborhood Watch initiative may find information online at They may also contact the Broome County Sheriff's Office community policing division at (607) 778-2391 or their local police department.

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: or (607) 545-2250. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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