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Facebook page watches crime

Michelle Miller of Alexandria recently launched a Facebook page that focuses on the community standing together. In just three weeks, the page has racked up about 1,200 page likes on Alexandria Community Watch. (Amy Chaffins/Echo Press)

A sudden surge of crime has rattled the Alexandria community – a deputy was shot, a murder-suicide ended two lives, a restaurant and video store were robbed at gunpoint – and it stirred a local woman to try to do something about it.

Michelle Miller of Alexandria launched the Facebook page, Alexandria Community Watch.

It’s like the social media version of a neighborhood watch.

“I think a lot of people were fearful [after the shooting and robbery] and I think that was where I was kind of like, ‘You don’t need to be fearful. This is our community. We can make the difference.’ I think it’s having an awareness of what’s going on in the community and not being a victim. I think that’s the biggest thing,” she said.

Since it was established on February 25, the page has already tallied about 1,400 followers.

“I actually was shocked myself,” Miller said.

The site offers a variety of information – everything from safety tips and local news links to positive quotes and community reminders.

Miller said, “I think if I could see a goal in all of this, it’s the community getting to know the community; for starters, get to know your neighbors. I don’t think neighbors know each other. If you don’t know who your neighbor is, how do you know what’s going on?”

Miller said it’s going to be about looking out for each other.

“Stop and help someone fix a flat tire; if you know someone who is struggling, cook for them; if you have an elderly person next to you, help shovel their driveway.

“It’s really about everyone stepping forward,” she said.

Miller, a graduate of Jefferson High School, owns her own cleaning business in Alexandria.

She said she’ll continue to serve as the Alexandria Community Watch page administrator and see where it goes.

“Everybody can make a difference and I think that needs to be expressed,” she said.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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