UA-8412995-1 The Southport Globe: Fairfield Residents Take a Stance Against Crime

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fairfield Residents Take a Stance Against Crime

Southport residents recently launched a neighborhood watch group after seeing a rise in burglaries and thefts in their neighborhood.

Home invasions. Car break-ins. Burglaries. Arsons. Package thefts.

Fairfield residents have seen their share of crime -- especially in the past year. Some neighborhoods are taking a stance to stop it.
Neighborhood watch groups -- organizations run by citizens that act as a liaison to the police -- are cropping up around town. The well-established Stratfield neighborhood watch consists of roughly 500 people. The latest neighborhood watch endeavor in Southport, focusing on the lower Hulls Highway area, began with a kickoff meeting attended by more than 80 people.
Police spokesperson Sgt. Sue Lussier said that the department is working with interested residents to start neighborhood watches in the Fairfield Beach Road/Riverside Drive area and the Dorking Drive/Round Hill Road neighborhood. Both areas have seen steady criminal activity -- in fact, the most recent home invasion occurred on Reef Road, in the Fairfield Beach Road neighborhood.
“Our mission is to make Fairfield safe,” Police Chief Gary MacNamara said at the recent neighborhood watch kickoff meeting in Southport. “A neighborhood watch is creating a neighborhood that is active in prevention.”

How the watch works
Residents who join a neighborhood watch group are added to an email list to coordinate communication efforts between neighbors and the police department.
Neighbors are encouraged to tip off the watch group’s points of contact -- or team captains -- of suspicious activity in an email blast that would alert the rest of the contact list, and the police.
“The way to really prevent crime is to have everyone on the same page,” Lt. James Perez told Southport residents at the kickoff. MacNamara added that the department wants to have better communication with the public -- watch groups facilitate that.
The team captains are also responsible for organizing regular watch meetings and must undergo training to effectively communicate crime prevention, observation, and reporting techniques to their neighbors.
“We will ensure the captains have the right tools to relay to the rest of the neighborhood,” Perez said.

How the watch helps
A neighborhood watch group can aid the police by providing connections the department may not be aware of in an investigation.
“You may have the pieces of information the police don’t have,” Perez said. “You know what’s normal and what’s not in your neighborhood.” READ MORE: http://fairfield.patch.com/articles/neighborhood-watch-d51b4bf4

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