Old Forge resident Lindsay Davitt is fed up with criminals. Judging by the turnout at the first meeting of the Old Forge Crimewatch Association, she’s not alone.
Nearly 40 residents packed council chambers on Monday, July 22, as Davitt shared her reasons for bringing the group to life — having founded a Facebook page that now has more than 400 “likes.” The group plans to change its name to the Old Forge Neighborhood Watch Association because, as it was explained during the meeting, “the purpose of this group is to watch our neighborhoods, not crimes as they happen.”
“This organization works,” she said, as she shared her recent experience of helping to apprehend a burglary suspect who had stolen tools from her home.
“We installed surveillance cameras,” she said. “We got to know our neighbors and began looking out for one another.”
The precautions, approach and added vigilance worked, as they were able to aid in apprehending a suspect during another burglary attempt in her neighborhood.
Davitt was joined at the meeting by Karin Foster, a West Scranton resident who was key to organizing the West Scranton Hyde Park Neighborhood Watch.
“Everybody knows what’s going on in your neighborhood,” she said. “But, complaining to yourself isn’t going to do anything to solve the problems.”
Foster, who helped form her group three years ago, said active residents are key and it’s all about awareness.
“You know what and who belongs and what is out of the ordinary,” Foster said. “There are certain homes that have increased activity certain times or days. The best thing you can do, the safest thing you can do is work with your law enforcement.”
Both Davitt and Foster stressed that being active in a neighborhood watch doesn’t make you a member of law enforcement, nor does it mean you have the authority to act on behalf of law enforcement. Watch members are encouraged to do just that, keep an eye on what goes on in their neighborhoods and report anything out of the ordinary or suspicious to the authorities.
Old Forge police officer Jason Dubernas is the crime prevention officer and is available by calling 457-7441 ext. 312.
More information about the group is available online at facebook.com/oldforgecrimewatchassociation or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.