Belleville residents fed up with crime in neighborhood

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI)-- In one Metro-East neighborhood, when it comes to crime, residents are saying enough is enough.

It all began after a home invasion which ended with the suspect being shot by the resident on October 10 in the Ogles subdivision on Belleville`s west side.

A few weeks later, 26 concerned residents got together at a neighbor's home to talk about that incident.  That led to the establishment of a neighborhood crime group, which is  connected through a Facebook page called 'Ogles Watch.'

Membership on the page quickly topped 200, and once  members started comparing notes about home invasions, burglaries and thefts happening on their streets, it became apparent that crime in the subdivision is more serious than any of them they thought.

'We were very shocked,' said Cynthia Bingham, who hosted that first meeting. 'I`ve lived in this neighborhood since I was 13 years oldand I was so surprised what was going on.  I was not aware,' she said.

Another organizer of the watch group says the time for action is now.

'This is my homeand I have decided I am done putting up with it, and it is time to start doing something about it,' said watch captain Mike Gasparich.

On Thursday night, the group met at St. Matthew United Methodist Church, which sits in the Ogles Subdivision.

More than 100 attended.

Both the St. Clair County Sheriff and representatives from the Belleville Police Department were also there, because the subdivision is split between the city and the county.

Sheriff Rich Watson responded by promising residents he would create a substation in the neighborhood.

'Visibility is where it is at, and they get to know the neighbors too,' Watson said of the plan. 'If they are down thereand they are sitting eating lunch and someone comes in they can say 'hi' and get to know who is in the neighborhood.'

Some say the increase in crime may be the result of homeowners unable to sell their houses turning them into rental properties instead.

'Some people are definitely frightened to be involvedand that is understandable,' Gasparich said.

'It is scary, but if you don`t get involved things will get worse.'

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  • Stephani Ramsey

    The comment about East St Louis being the reason for crime in Belleville couldn’t be further from the truth. Take a look at the residents right in the area. Why is it that racist pigs always want to blame crime on residents of E St? Crime is happening everywhere. In poor low income areas and middle class and the snooty high class better than thee areas. Respect, appreciation, honor and class are taught to us as children. If prejudice wasn’t taught our country would be so much better. If everyone would be respectful of each and every human we wouldn’t have burglaries, robberies, rapes, murders, newborns being killed, etc and so on. Life is too short for hatred.

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