Watch group reaches out with students

By Gus Bode

To Bob Luebbers, there are two important questions to measure the quality of a neighborhood.

“One is you ask the question – do I feel safe to walk this neighborhood day or night,” Luebbers said. “Number two – do I know my neighbors?”

Luebbers is the neighborhood watch block captain in the area between Poplar Street and University Avenue, where Ryan Livingston was stabbed last year and Lawrence Wirth was shot Jan. 29 while he stabbed another male.


Luebbers organized a walkthrough of the neighborhood Thursday night in part to respond to the shooting of Wirth. Among the walkthrough’s participants were members of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and Carbondale Police Sgt. Stan Reno.

Luebbers said the theme of the event was “random acts of kindness.”

“This walkthrough is just letting people know that people still care about the safety of this community and giving people an opportunity to see faces that they would not normally see,” said Ed Tilton, a junior from Bloomington studying psychology and member of Delta Sigma Phi.

Thursday was the first time Tilton and other fraternity members participated in a walkthrough.

“We thought that being in the community and being part of the community ourselves, it would be good to be involved,” Tilton said.

Reno said the area had several burglaries during the holiday season in the past, but lately there have been fewer. He attributed the fewer burglaries in part to the activity of the watch group.

As the group walked from house to house, Luebbers pointed out good and bad lighting on the streets.


“Notice the good light,” he said at one house with a bright porch light.

Luebbers also noted the condition of trees and untrimmed bushes at another house explaining that trimming will reduce the areas where people can hide.

Another important part of the event was to get to know the residents of the area, he said.

“It’s a way for us to put a face with the neighborhood,” Luebbers said.

Jesse Vargas, a neighborhood resident and graduate student in physiology, said the watch helps him feel a little safer, but not completely secure.

“It helps a little bit, but I feel worried,” Vargas said. “This neighborhood is not the safest, but I guess any little bit of extra vigilance helps.”

Jake Costello, a sophomore from Alton studying finance, said the goal of a safer community is a constant effort.

“I think the biggest part of it is that it’s a 24-7 job,” Costello said, “It’s having the willpower to, when you see something happening, to get out there and report it to the police.”

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