NEIGHBORHOOD ENHANCEMENT AND ALLIANCE TEAM (N.E.A.T.)
The NEAT organization was proposed by Sheriff Richard Meyers and County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen in March of 2010. The purpose of NEAT is to bring together those Neighborhood Watch programs in the unincorporated areas of Winnebago County in an effort to revitalize community interest by offering services beyond crime prevention and interconnecting the membership of those programs.
There are currently 19 neighborhood watch organizations in the unincorporated areas of Winnebago County. NEAT serves as the organizational structure that brings together individual programs that a focus on issues relative to the heart of any individual neighborhood, but also offers assistance and topics of interest that cross boundaries. It modernizes the concept of neighborhood watches by creating an umbrella of opportunities that speak directly to individual and community awareness. NEAT is designed in a manner that allows neighborhood watch captains to interact with each other creating a communication process that flows throughout the unincorporated groups.
NEAT after only five meetings has accomplished a great deal. They hosted a Meet and Greet event at the Klehm Arboretum between themselves and their representative Board members for the purposes of making introductions and discussing the NEAT concept to include their goals and objectives. It was a successful meeting that resulted in a County Board Resolution that supports NEAT and its work.
NEAT is structured with a Board of Directors that includes the individual neighborhood watch captains. Victor Karvelius serves as the Chairman, Tony Guthrie, Vice-Chairman and Tricia Lutey, serves as Secretary.
Goals set by the NEAT Board include among others:
- Ordinance developed in areas of lighting, animal control and others
- Emergency training
- Disaster preparedness
- Sex offenders watch program and notification
- Youth programs
- Internet safety
- Babysitting certification
- Teen driving
NEAT welcomes and encourages unincorporated neighborhoods that have yet to form a watch group, to do so under the NEAT organization. NEAT meets for one hour the third Thursday of each month beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Criminal Justice Center at 650 West State Street, Rockford. If you are interested in starting a neighborhood watch in your area, you are welcome to attend to see what NEAT can do for you. No need to register or call-- just join in on the meeting! We look forward to seeing you.