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Burglary Victim Starts Neighborhood Watch Program

Burglary Victim Starts Neighborhood Watch Program

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Lawton, OKLa._A Lawton woman whose house was burglarized twice in one week said she's taking her neighborhood back. Patty Varnes says she's starting a neighborhood watch program. Last month, police arrested friends of her teenage son for burglarizing her house. Varnes said a thief targeted her house again last week.

She said she was just starting to make peace with the first burglary, when she got that all too familiar call. Varnes said when her friend called her and told her that another teenager had broken into her home and he was in police custody, she even considered moving. But that same friend told her not to let crime drive her out of her own neighborhood.

Varnes said she considers herself a survivor not a victim. But she admitted that when she when she found about the second burglary, she was floored.

"I said is this April fools? because this can not be happening again. Sure enough I came home and saw a young man in the cop car. I did recognize him as someone who walks up and down the neighborhood quite frequently all hours of the day all hours of the night", she said.

She said she wants her neighbors to start keeping a close eye on each others' houses and an even closer eye on their kids.

"And get this community together and be the voice for the people that are scared to be heard. Because I am not scared of these kids and no one else should be. Let's make these parents accountable for their children. These kids are out here doing crimes felony crimes", said Varnes.

She  already has one resident on board, who says his house has also been targeted.

"It's not a bad idea. It's really not because I can guarantee twelve houses on my street have been robbed in the last four months, including me and my new neighbor. I think its a good idea to make sure everybody's inside at a certain time and make sure the kids are not out of control", said local football coach, Skilen McKinney.

Varnes said the thief busted through a bedroom window to get inside her house. She said the thief may have shattered her window but what he didn't shatter was her sense of safety. She said that's why she's starting a neighborhood watch, to give residents in this community the safe environment they deserve.

"Back home, we had neighborhood watches, we had meetings once a week and we took back our streets", she said.

The neighborhood watch program is in the beginning stages. Varnes said she also plans on working with residents to come up with more community activities for their kids.  

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