Photo by Can Turkyilmaz

Cops can’t handle all the crime in the neighborhood. The smart ones will be the first to acknowledge it.

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Former Northeast Subdivision Deputy Chief Tom Lawrence, who was promoted last year to assistant chief, has said that no matter how concentrated the law enforcement effort, it will take more to turn the tide of crime in the Lake Highlands area, which includes some of the city’s most troubled spots.

“Our area’s army of volunteers is one of the most vital combatants we have when it comes to crime reduction,” Lawrence recently told us.

He was referring to neighborhood crime watch groups and volunteer patrols. To further assist those volunteers, many groups raise funds to hire off-duty officers to help patrol the streets. Crime watch association participation can be hit or miss, and sometimes groups just don’t have the funds for off-duty officers.

Rather than being left vulnerable, one neighborhood has implemented a plan to seek funding from local businesses to hire extra help patrolling its streets.

Forest Meadow resident Cinco Calfee thought of the idea, and she had the perfect company in mind for the first crime watch sponsor — Lake Highlands-based Probity Advisors. After all, her husband, Chris, owns the place, and she works there.

Calfee worked out the details with crime watch chair Alex Wells, and in return for an initial $3,000 donation in August, Probity received a full-page ad in both the Forest Meadow Flier and the Town Creek Crier newsletters. In return for its contribution, Calfee says, the company receives not only direct and valuable advertisement, but also increased safety in the neighborhoods where they operate.

The program just launched in August, but Calfee says thinks this is a good way to ensure the safety and desirability of her neighborhood, and she hopes that other companies and neighborhoods will get on board.

“Strong neighborhood crime watch keeps the neighborhood safe and also helps our police,” she says. “Hopefully, this will get more people to think creatively about crime watch efforts.”