Residents in this typically peaceful borough may form a community-watch group to counter an increase in vandalism.

Damaged cars, graffiti and dog droppings set on fire near a home are among 16 incidents reported in the municipality during the past year, residents said.

“I have to keep the lights on all the time,” said Larry Gindlesperger, owner of the White Star Bed and Breakfast on Route 30. “It usually happens between midnight and 4 a.m.”

Vandals hit Turillo’s Steak House on Route 30 twice during the same week in late February.

A window was smashed at the restaurant days after Manager Joey Turillo nabbed an 18-year-old borough man who allegedly broke into his car.

Residents have taken their concerns to Borough Council and asked about a curfew and forming a neighborhood watch.

A curfew is on the books, but it may be enforced only by borough police, who are not on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Councilman Robert Friedline said.

Neighborhood-watch groups were organized in Meyersdale and Bakersville after thieves and vandals targeted those communities. Residents may not carry weapons or make arrests, but they can alert authorities to criminal activity.

Neighborhood-watch groups often are called the “eyes and ears” of the police.

“As far as a community watch, that has to be generated by the people,” Friedline said.

“If you can deter crime, you’re being proactive.”

Friedline said news of vandalism in the normally quiet community of about 700 residents caught him by surprise.

He read in the newspaper about the trouble at Turillo’s.

“Now we’ve found there have been several other incidents,” he said.

Some of the vandalism often goes unreported, making it unlikely the perpetrators will be caught, authorities said.

“If we’re out, we can handle it,” Officer Michael Rager said.

“Sometimes, people won’t call if were not out. They should call 911 or the non-emergency number.”

Several juveniles were charged with disorderly conduct for lighting a bag of dog droppings and tossing it onto a resident’s porch, Rager said.

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