Philadelphia forms neighborhood watch group to stop vandalism

PHILADELPHIA, Tenn. (WVLT) -- In the small city of Philadelphia, vandalism is a big problem:

"Painting profanity on everything - houses, buildings, churches - we'd like to see it stopped," said Earnest Stevens, who lives in Philadelphia.

There's also gang references, broken windows and graffiti on street signs. Margaret Booher has lived in Philadelphia for more than 60 years - she said she's sick of the problem.

"If this is going to be where I live, yes, I would like to see places cleaned up," said Booher.

"Unless they catch them in the act - that's the only way they're going to catch them," said John Macuga, who lives in Philadelphia.

Mayor Chris Miller agrees. He said Philadelphia relies on the Loudon County Sheriff's Office for protection, and said deputies can't be everywhere at once. That's why the city has formed a neighborhood watch group.

"The neighborhood watch program was started to try to better the community - make it a more desirable place to live. And let those ones out there that are doing the vandalism know that we're watching, and we will catch you," said Miller.

Miller said 20 people showed up to the first meeting in June, but he's hoping the group will grow:

"We're gonna hit more of the community, and get out there and put the word out, put flyers out - door to door. And we hope we have a good turnout - everyone actually starts moving forward and keeping their neighborhood safe," said Miller.

Many in town said they'll join the group - and hope it will stop the vandalism.

The next neighborhood watch meeting will be on August 26 at 7 p.m. at the Philadelphia Methodist Church.

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