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West Seneca now has its fifth active Neighborhood Watch group, and its members say their streets are already seeming pleasanter.

Located in the Seneca-City Line area, near Savona, Manhasset, Dorr and Birch streets, the group is coordinated by Linda Payne with the assistance of Jean Tout and Gary Aures, said Capt. Edward Gehen, town police Neighborhood Watch coordinator.

"Neighborhood Watch does not organize people as vigilantes and it does not even guarantee any faster response to police calls," Gehen said. But it does open up lines of communication in a neighborhood as well as between residents and police when we meet monthly to discuss ideas and problem," he said.

"Last summer we were having trouble, mostly with unsupervised kids," said Mrs. Payne. "People losing lawn furnitures and one house here on Savona that had some very nasty goings on" with fighting, bad language and the like.

"You think: 'Oh, sure, police are gonna do something if I call.' But when some neighbors called the police came and we went to court and saw that the system works, and that got us thinking."

The result has been a new spirit of caring in the neighborhood, Mrs. Payne said. "We really look out for each other. We have people who walk or drive around and I'm told we'll be getting cell phones under a special police communications program.

"And when someone does sign a complaint, two or three of us go along to court to keep them company, which showed us something else about the justice system," Mrs. Payne added.

"I expect this fall and next summer we'll have a much quieter neighborhood."

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