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Watch for Me NC in Newton

  • Watch for Me NC participant since: 2017
  • Population: 13,000
  • Lead agency: City of Newton Police Department


As the county seat of Catawba County, NC, Newton is actively improving city infrastructure for walking and biking. The city developed its first pedestrian plan in 2017 to respond to local demand for a safe, connected walking environment. The Carolina Thread Trail, an extensive regional greenway network, passes through Newton, and the community features several miles of local trails and designated physical activity loops. Many students in the Newton-Conover City School District walk to school, and vulnerable road user safety around schools is a growing concern in Newton.


Organizations lending time and expertise in support of Newton’s Watch for Me NC efforts include the City of Newton Planning Department and Newton-Conover City Schools. Health focused agencies such as Eat Smart Move More Catawba County, and LiveWell Catawba who work to reduce obesity, were also able to contribute.

Education and Enforcement Activities

In their first year of implementing the Watch for Me NC program in Newton, city officials chose to keep the emphasis on education. Kick off for the campaign took place at the Annual Old Scholars Reunion event, which drew an estimated 13,000 residents over seven days. The City of Newton communicated the Watch for Me NC message via press releases and on social media.  High school resource officers participated in Watch for Me NC law enforcement officer training.

Key Outcomes

Feedback on Watch for Me NC has been positive locally. Watch for Me NC was foundational as the town created their streetscape and pedestrian plans, and Newton continues to prioritize safety as they work to implement plan recommendations.

Lessons Learned

  • The public engagement component of Watch for Me NC was important for Newton. The city relied on their public information officer to distribute the message widely in the community.
  • City of Newton Police found that close collaboration with the Newton Planning Department was crucial to the success of their work to improve overall pedestrian and bicycle safety.


Thank you to Major Timothy W. Hayes with the City of Newton Police Department for providing leadership, time, and expertise that contributed to the Watch for Me NC campaign in Newton and the information in this profile.