Siletz neighbors: No cops, no guns, cameras blazing

Siletz has been without a police force since 2014

The Siletz Public Library, May 16, 2016 (KOIN)

SILETZ, Ore. (KOIN) — Since 2014, the town of Siletz has not had a police force. But they have had crime.

Residents sick of the skyrocketing crime rate formed the Siletz Neighborhood Watch that, member Tony Blomstrom said, “has been pretty amazing.”

Tony Blomstrom started a neighborhood watch group in Siletz, the town without police, May 16, 2016 (KOIN)
Tony Blomstrom started a neighborhood watch group in Siletz, the town without police, May 16, 2016 (KOIN)

Blomstrom said the neighborhood watch formed a few weeks ago with just 3 people, but now the town feels a lot safer.

“By Saturday night there was nobody on our streets in the middle of the night which, I mean, keeps the thieves away and the drug deals away, and keeps the needles out of the yards and out of the playgrounds,” he told KOIN 6 News.

Just several weeks earlier, prowlers and break-ins were happening regularly in the town.

Elaine Butler joined the watch group after continually dealing with unwanted strangers outside her apartment all hours of the night. She said video and pictures she snapped have been mighty effective.

“This ‘he said, she said’ stuff isn’t going to work anymore,” Butler said. “We have to have evidence to get these people off of our street, out of our housing and out of our town.”

Elaine Butler joined a neighborhood watch group in Siletz, the town without police, May 16, 2016 (KOIN)
Elaine Butler joined a neighborhood watch group in Siletz, the town without police, May 16, 2016 (KOIN)

Armed with cameras and finding safety in numbers, the group gathers at 10 p.m. every night outside the library — where they say criminals used to hang out while using the building’s 24-hour WiFi.

Butler agreed they come out with cameras blazing.

The group said there were 20 cars at a time cruising around the neighborhood over the weekend. They’ve turned their evidence over to the short-staffed Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, who is now taking more interest, they said.

A ballot measure to be decided on Tuesday would, if passed, raise money for law enforcement to return to Siletz on a regular basis.

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