Garden City residents create neighborhood watch group

Group called Garden City Michigan Crime Reporting and Neighborhood Watch Patrol

GARDEN CITY, Mich. – A group of ordinary citizens in Garden City is using social media to create a neighborhood watch and rid their area of crime.

The watch program is working well for the citizens. Their Facebook page has nearly 2,000 members who report crime and encourage others to look out for one another.

The group is called Garden City Michigan Crime Reporting and Neighborhood Watch Patrol. Each member of the citizen-run group uses his own car and his own free time to try to keep the 6 square miles of Garden City safe.

Sean Nipper is one of the nearly 30 members who ride around looking for anything suspicious.

"We're neighbors on wheels, basically," Nipper said. "Anything that you would deem suspicious in your own neighborhood, we try our best to look for things like that and maybe discourage it with our presence."

The group members said they are not confrontational and are not vigilantes.

"We try to keep ourselves real noticeable with the beacons and the sticker," Nipper said.

Police know who they are, but there's no affiliation.

"People would call the police in the beginning, not knowing who we are, and the police would figure out who we are and we grew from there," Nipper said. "Now it's quite the opposite."

The members will often patrol the area before and after their normal jobs, and have been doing so for nearly a year.

Residents are taking notice.

"All of us have busy lives and when we take our turn to patrol, we're going on light sleep, but it's rewarding, so we do it," Nipper said.

A couple of months ago, the group started handing out fliers promoting what they call "Project Light Up," which encourages residents to keep their porch lights on.

Since then, they said, they've seen a big difference in the number of homes lit, and that alone can deter criminal activity.

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