Block clubs could be back in Burton - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Block clubs could be back in Burton

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(04/17/14) - Block clubs could be coming back to Burton.

The first step is talking about re-establishing them. Police and residents met Thursday.

The goal is to rebuild those relationships with neighbors and police assigned to the areas.               

"I hope to see more communication in our neighborhoods, people getting out, talking to each other," said resident Deb Walton. "Us getting together as neighbors again."

Walton helped get the meeting together.

She says Burton used to have block clubs, but they kind of just disappeared.

James Shustock was in the crowd Thursday and hopes the community will continue to show interest in the idea.

"I was really surprised that there were this many people here," he said.

"This is the community's block club meeting," said Burton Police Chief Tom Osterholzer. "It's the community coming together and saying, 'We want to make some changes. We want to build some relationships and we want to utilize the police to do that.' That's important. If this was something we were trying to force on people, we wouldn't accomplish anything."

Osterholzer talked about involving the officers, getting residents familiar with them and detectives in each district.

The department is working with six new officers after voters approved a public safety millage in November. Three are already out on the streets, on their own, and three more should be soon. One more officer will be hired before July.

"My goal for today is that we get enough people here from different areas throughout the entire city that say, 'Hey, I like what I heard. I'm going to go back to my own neighborhood and we're going to see about re-establishing these block clubs and re-establishing these neighborhood watches and looking out for our neighbor.'"

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