06/28/06 — Fremont officials say Crime Watch program could cut illegal activities

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Fremont officials say Crime Watch program could cut illegal activities

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on June 28, 2006 1:47 PM

FREMONT -- Rekindling a Community Crime Watch program could assist the three-man Fremont Police Department in reducing drugs and other crimes in the northern Wayne County town, officials say.

Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie on Tuesday night proposed a new Crime Watch as a way to address the concerns of Fremont residents about drugs, public drinking, marauding youths, stray animals and littering.

Ten people spoke a week earlier during the monthly town board meeting about the problems. The nine who attended Tuesday night's special meeting in Town Hall said they would support a Crime Watch, and some complained again about the problems.

But Alderman Leon Mooring noted that the former Crime Watch was started with eight or 10 people, then it dwindled to four in about two months and finally folded.

Police Chief Wayne Schwark suggested that the best way to form a Crime Watch was to select block captains to represent a neighborhood. The captain would be responsible for attending the meetings and relaying information to neighborhood residents.

"Everyone should be concerned about crime," Alderman Billy Harvey said. Then he added that the town should become more aggressive toward crime.

When the residents had a chance to speak, they described drug deals being conducted in public.

Wayne Johnson complained about unkempt yards with junked cars at homes where the residents had died.

"We need a positive attitude, make the town look better and make people responsible," he said.

Daniels said he cuts a neighbor's grass and wondered what his penalty would be if he cut other landowners' grass. Chief Schwark said Daniels could not be charged for trespass unless a sign was erected.

"We have ordinances on the books. They need to be enforced," Howell said.

The public also urged the police to enforce the town's new curfew and to arrest juvenile offenders.

"Parents should know the curfew," Alderman Annie Lewis said. "Let them know we're serious about this."

A fourth police officer's position and a drug dog have been approved in the new budget. Mayor Devone Jones said additional police officers might be hired.

"This board is going to try to clean up this town, get it better and do what we have to do," Jones said.