Perhaps it’s my sense of pride at being a part of what I feel is the strongest division participating in Crime Watch that prompts my response to Bill Keffer’s March 1995 Forum column, “Now It’s Official – I’m a Crime Watcher.”
As the Northeast Operations Division representative on Chief Ben Click’s Crime Watch Executive Board from April 1994 to February 1995, I feel it is my duty to respond to Mr. Keffer on behalf of all 85 Northeast Crime Watch groups.
Not just to defend our very healthy Crime Watch participation here in Northeast, but to hopefully convince Mr. Keffer that the role of Crime Watch Area Chair he has so graciously taken on is indeed important, not to be taken lightly.
It’s true, some Crime Watch signs are old and can’t be considered deterrents to the criminal element. But then, it’s the residents that live behind the signs that work together in a wide variety of programs and activities that deter the bad guys from coming into our little paradises. Programs and activities that include:
- Volunteers In Patrol – six active Northeast groups and growing.
- Expanded Neighborhood Patrols – Northeast has nine.
- Interactive Community Policing – Sgt. Smith heads up a team of six fine officers devoted to working directly with the residents of Northeast.
- Voice Mail – Thanks to Cpl. Ron Carpenter, approximately 40 Crime Watch groups maintain regular weekly contact with Northeast, and thus arm themselves with the very latest crime information affecting their neighborhoods.
- Phone Tree – A generous donation from a Crime Watch group ensures that all Northeast Crime Watch groups receive timely and pertinent information (rest assured, Mr. Keffer’s name has been added to the Phone Tree Calling list).
- Neighborhood Newsletters – Roughly 69 neighborhoods regularly publish and distribute crime prevention information beneficial to all their residents. And those newsletters are available for new Crime Watch groups to study.
- The Northeast News – A quarterly divisional newsletter with the motto “Police and Citizens Working Together To Prevent Crime.” It has input from both our Northeast Police Officers and our Crime Watch Area Chairs – Community policing at its roots. (Again, Mr. Keffer’s name has been added to the mailing list).
- And last, but certainly not least…those meetings at the police station. Not only have the Crime Watch Area Chairs always regularly attended these meetings, but they have requested additional workshops to help them learn how to use the many resources available.
And while lawn chairs were not there, thanks to yet another active Area Chair, the last meeting boasted about 120 folks.
Yes, the police and residents are doing something about crime in Lake Highlands. As Mr. Keffer is just now receiving his neighborhood Crime Watch, his irreverence is understandable. Organizing can be frustrating.
But unlike our Initial Crime Watch pioneers from 15 years ago, Mr. Keffer has quite a support system at his disposal.
Perhaps it seems I’m “tooting the horn” of the Northeast police and residency. Deservedly so. Many folks have worked hard to bring unity to this division. And many folks are still needed.
I would recommend Mr. Keffer contact anyone involved with Crime Watch here in the Northeast Division. They will tell him that while its true Crime Watch efforts weren’t so visible in the past, they are now.
That’s because of strong leadership from Chief Click, a Divisional Commander – Chief John Martinez – who truly believes in prevention, a crime prevention team actively and willingly working with the residents, and a whole bunch of folks willing to give a little time and energy to better their community.
We all work together toward a common goal: Make safe the place we call home.
We look forward to hearing from Mr. Keffer on how we can help him in his efforts to establish his Crime Watch Group. We are at his disposal. And we look forward to the Crime Watch sign pendants – after all, Crime Watch can be fun.