Westcott neighbors fight back after rash of violent crime

After about a dozen violent robberies, and nearly 20 burglaries Westcott neighbors are fighting back. At a meeting Monday night, about 50 people came together to talk solutions.

F ree light bulbs were handed out at the neighborhood safety meeting, so homeowners can brighten up their properties. The community is hoping it shines a light on a recent recent crime spree on their streets.

"We have residents that are concerned, students should be concerned and I'm sure their parents are concerned," said Cheryl Bellino who organized the meeting. "We want our residents to look out for eachother."

In recent weeks there have been at least 11 armed robberies in the Westcott neighborhood, near Syracuse University. In many of the cases, the men had guns, and would hide behind trees and bushes and sneak up on someone walking by. Police warn you should hand over your possessions and not fight back, especially if they have a weapon.

Crime statistics show there have also been 17 home break-ins in this neighborhood in October. Police say the best defense is making sure you and your home are not easy targets. Keep your property well lit, doors locked and walk in pairs.

"My wife likes to walk at night and I make sure she doesn't walk in the dark. It's concerning, very concerning. It gives this neighborhood a bad taste," said Ron DeLuca.

Syracuse police have recently arrested two men on robbery charges, and though they have not admitted to committing crimes in the Westcott neighborhood, since those arrests the number of robberies has dropped.

"There probably are multiple people committing these robberies so just because we have two of them and the robberies went down, people should still be very cautious," said Deputy Chief Joe Cecile. "We can't be everywhere at the same time but the neighbors can, if they keep their eyes open and see something suspicious and alert us so we can get there."

N eighbors say the next step may be forming a neighborhood watch group.

What do you think about the recent rash of crime? Do you think neighborhood watch groups work? What do you think neighbors can do to help fight crime?