has been active since the 1970s, focusing on keeping neighborhoods safe.
But their presence has shrunken in the last 10 years, watch president Brian Otto said Thursday night, and now has just above 200 members in 20-25 active neighborhoods.
"There are so many people moving in and out that there's not the steady community we used to have," he said. "Right now, we've been struggling with getting people."
Otto was speaking at the Block Watch's annual town meeting at the on the South Side.
The problem is pronounced in the West Ward where the lack of community makes it harder to monitor crime, Otto said. The Block Watch plans to focus on new membership in 2012 so that more neighborhoods will be able to monitor suspicious and potentially dangerous activity. The police are doing a great job lately, but they can't be everywhere, he said.
Thursday's audience also heard from Easton Fire Chief John Bast, who spoke of the importance of having working fire extinguishers, and knowing when they won't be enough.
“If it takes you more than one canister, the fire is too big. Call the fire department,” he said.
Bast suggested checking the expiration date for fire extinguishers and encouraged citizens to call the fire department for a house fire - even if they've already put it out with their home fire extinguisher.
"It's not a problem,” he said. “You're not bothering us."