2014 Citizens of the Year
North 9th Street Neighborhood Watch group
The North 9th St. Neighborhood Watch Group was chosen as the 2014 Citizen of the Year
because of their dedication, cohesiveness, and success in taking back their neighborhood.
Neighborhood Watch is a crime prevention program that enlists the active participation of
citizens in cooperation with law enforcement to reduce crime and the fear of crime in their
In March 2011, the neighborhood centered around the 600 block of N. 9th Street faced a
daunting challenge – how to keep its streets safe. At that time, neighbors began noticing
an increase in suspicious people and cars, vandalism, and drug deals on the sidewalks
and street corners. They knew a criminal element had moved in. The problems grew
dramatically. Over a three year time span, the 9th Street neighborhood was witness to two
SWAT raids, an arson that threatened surrounding homes, multiple thefts and home
break-ins, domestic violence, street fights, and arrests.
The neighbors decided amongst themselves that they would not stand by and watch their
neighborhood decline. Those most directly affected by the crimes contacted the Manitowoc
Police Department, which was the beginning of 9th Street Neighborhood Watch. By July
of 2011, the group began meeting regularly with a focus on taking back the streets. Led by
the Police Department’s Crime Prevention Officer, Sgt. Bruce Jacobs, the group coordinated
its efforts with its Alderperson and County Board Representative, the District Attorney’s
Office, the County Executive, the City Attorney, and the Mayor. The group also organized a
summer picnic in an effort to better know their neighbors and pull together as a
Faced with an organized and persistent opposition, the criminal elements abandoned the
neighborhood. Ultimately, the North 9th Street Neighborhood Watch is testament to the
fact that neighbors working together for a common cause can make a difference.