SAUK VILLAGE | Officials unveiled new neighborhood watch signs and Village President David Hanks read a proclamation declaring Sauk Village a neighborhood watch community at Tuesday's board meeting.
"Today's watch-group program has incorporated activities that not only address crime-prevention, but also restore pride and unity into a neighborhood," Hanks said. "Communities in which citizens have observed and reported suspicious activity have enjoyed lower crime rates."
Smaller signs will be posted at 22 areas along the village's major roadways, while four larger ones will be placed at Sauk Trail and Ill. 394, in front of McDonald's on Sauk Trail, Torrence Avenue and U.S. 30 and at Torrence and Steger Road.
The signs were paid for by $684 in donations from residents collected by the board's Neighborhood Watch Committee.
Trustee Lynda Washington, who heads the Neighborhood Watch Committee, said she received word of a protest planned for Tuesday's meeting by residents who felt the signs were racist because they feel the logo depicts a black man as a criminal.
Washington and several other members of the committee that chose the logo are black. She called the protest "a political ploy."
"We ran (the protesters) away," Washington said. "The positiveness of the program was so great that they just decided not to come tonight."
Washington said the logo is a national neighborhood watch symbol of no race, depicting an anonymous shadow or masked criminal. The figure is wearing stripes with a black face contrasted by white eyes.
Trustee Ed Myers, who is also a member of the committee, said the group went through "pages and pages" of national logos before deciding which would be painted on signs and displayed on stickers.
The protesters-to-be included a group of five to 12 residents who were asked to help install the signs throughout the village and refused, Washington said.
"Trust me, the naysayers got together and said we ain't going to do this," Washington said. "I don't think it's a problem, anymore. I think it's over."