It started in 2008 with six neighbors with a drive to make a difference in their community.
“We just wanted to have our neighborhood safer and build better relationships with the police department,” said Carie Meadows, founder of the B2 Watchers Neighborhood Watch.
11 years later, the B2 Watchers have developed into a vigilant neighborhood watch group in Jackson’s Second Ward.
“We’ve grown into the longest running neighborhood watch in the City. We also have about 450 people from our neighborhood on our Facebook page,” Meadows said.
The name “B2” comes from a term the Jackson Police Department once used to reference the northeast section of the city north of E. Michigan Avenue.
Organizers of the B2 Watchers say their watch area follows those boundaries set by police.
“We’ve found that getting neighbors together and working closely with the police department has improved the safety of the neighborhood over the years,” Meadows said.
While neighborhood safety remains a top priority, B2 has evolved into an active community organization.
The B2 Watchers hold monthly meetings at the Boos Community Center in the summer months, along with organizing neighborhood cleanups and garage sales.
They organize National Night Out in Loomis Park, which is an annual event that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make communities safer.
Earlier this year, the group secured a grant from the Jackson Community Foundation to fund a new parent-child swing for the Loomis Park playground.
They also make daily connections with neighbors through the B2 Watchers Facebook page.
B2 member Sarah Allison says the Facebook page helps build the neighborhood’s identity and has helped form personal connections amongst neighbors.
“I think that it is a good neighborhood feel and it doesn’t leave us all isolated,” Allison said.
Allison says an important function of the Facebook page is to warn neighbors about neighborhood crime concerns like break-ins or suspicious people.
“We’ve also had people upload actual video from their security cameras and I really think that helps us all to be aware and to keep an eye on each other,” Allison said.
Laurie Lewis, a B2 member for 10 years, says neighbors in other parts of Jackson should consider organizing neighborhood groups.
She says while it is a lot of work, the results of a safer neighborhood and better relationships with the community benefits everyone.
“I think having an organized group does allow us to have that sense of community. I think the more groups we have in the city, the better off the city will be,” Lewis said.
Visit this highlighted web link to learn about starting a neighborhood watch.
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