08/15/06 — These neighbors will be watching

View Archive

These neighbors will be watching

By Renee Carey
Published in News on August 15, 2006 1:48 PM

FREMONT -- Fremont residents are tired of battling crime in their community -- and some of them have decided they are going to do more than just complain.

They are going to do something about it.

More than 75 people gathered at Town Hall Monday night to continue their discussion about setting up a neighborhood crime watch program in their community.

The idea, said Amy Price, one of the organizers, is to ask residents to keep their eyes open in their neighborhoods.

Mrs. Price said she has heard the reports of cars being broken into at church, vandalism, thefts and other disturbances in the community as well some areas of suspected drug activity. A community watch program, she said, is a means for residents to join forces to take care of each other and to do their part to stop crime.

And one of the best ways to start, she added, is to walk your block.

She started talking with her neighbors Monday afternoon.

Information such as vehicle makes and models, schedules, pets and their names, as well as other details about a normal day could help a neighbor keep watch for anything out of the ordinary, Mrs. Price said.

And seeing something out of place, gathering information about the car or suspicious individual in the area and then reporting it to authorities could not only keep a neighbor safe, but could also stop a crime before it happens, she said.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders, who attended the meeting along with several members of his staff, said residents are an important part of the crime-fighting process, especially in small communities.

He said maintaining interest is the key.

"I have seen a lot of these crime watch programs, and at first, a lot of people come out," Winders said. "Then, it dwindles down to three or four."

The more information law enforcement officers have, he said, the better able they are to catch suspects. That's why a community tip program is so important.

When tips are called in, sheriff's deputies can help track down criminals and might even get the jump on a suspect before he or she commits a crime.

Winders assured residents that his department knows about the concerns about drug activity and gangs in the Fremont area, and that investigators have already pursued several tips and made several arrests.

He reminded residents that they are not alone.

"You have no more problems than anyone else," he said.

Winders said he and his staff will continue to stay vigilant and to keep an eye out for law-breakers. He encouraged residents to get as many details as possible and then to call him or the Crime Stoppers line at 735-2255 if they suspect illegal activity.

Those in attendance Monday received vehicle and suspicious activity report forms as well as a few tips on how to secure their own homes against crime. They also received instructions on how to be a member of the crime watch team.

The group is in its early stages, and those present acknowledged they had quite a bit of work to to do to get started. Volunteers from around the community are being sought to assist by keeping watch in their neighborhoods, the organizers said.

There is a lot of ground to cover, but Mrs. Price challenged those in attendance to get started in their neighborhoods.

"We've got to start somewhere," she said. "If you can do two blocks, that would be great."

For more information on joining the Fremont community crime watch effort, call Mrs. Price at 242-3102 or Jenny Blanchard at 242-5015.

The group's next meeting will be Sept. 11 at the Town Hall in downtown Fremont.