Time for a Neighbourhod Watch

Joan Butler
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Now that Mount Pearl has launched its new Neighbourhood Watch program perhaps Conception Bay South will finally see the benefits and follow the city’s lead to reduce and crime.

Not only would such a program help our growing town get neighbours talking and looking out for one other, but it could help address the concerns about crime that regularly pop up when we have a rash of incidents.

The possibility of a Neighbourhood Watch program is not a new concept for our town.

Mayor Ken McDonald raised the possibility of such a program when he expressed concern in late 2011 about a high number of residential break-ins. McDonald, who was a ward councillor at the time, said the town would explore the program, which is co-ordinated through the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, to see if it could be implemented in C.B.S.

Last June, the issue of crime in our community was raised yet again. There was no mention of Neighbourhood Watch at that time as then-mayor Woodrow French cautioned residents to be careful and keep their doors locked after a couple of home invasions.

The former mayor used the incidents to highlight problems about policing presence in the community and the need for an RNC detachment in the town.

Fortunately, we have not heard of any rising crime in C.B.S, however, we should not have to wait for a problem to initiate such a valuable and recognized crime prevention program.

The Neighbourhood Watch program launched in Mount Pearl on April 9 is the same model used throughout the world.

It is a community-based program in partnership with the local police, which is aimed at minimizing preventable crime.   

The program helps bring together people living on the same streets or in the same areas. Residents get to know you, the type of vehicles you own and some of your daily patterns, so they can be the first to notice that something unusual is happening in the neighbourbhood.  

Many residents living in subdivisions here and in other towns and cities often do not know their neighbours. Some people feel it is a violation of their privacy to advise people next door or across the street of their routine or vacation plans.

There are those who go away for weeks and never tell their neighbours they are gone or ask someone to pick up newspapers or other things that may be left to indicate that no one is home. They prefer to depend on secure doors and windows and alarm systems to deter criminal activity.

There are others who value knowing that their neighbours are working together to deter potential thieves and gladly participate in such a program. Would be thieves are also less likely to target an area knowing that there is an active Neighbourhood Watch.

As McDonald noted at the time he raised the possibility of Neighbourhood Watch, C.B.S. has changed. We used to be small enough that we didn’t have to lock our doors as everyone knew their neighbours.

It’s time for us to get back to some semblance of this in our town.

Like in Mount Pearl, St. John’s and other towns and cities, Neighbourhood Watch needs local commitment and leadership.

As the second largest municipality in the province after St. John’s, attracting hundreds of new residents each year, our town really should be showing the same leadership and introducing Neighbourhood Watch.

Lobster and Steak Dinner

Topsail United Church’s annual lobster/steak dinner will be held Saturday, May 10, at 7 p.m. Enjoy lobster or steak for $30, or get both for $45. The dinner includes caesar salad, pasta and potato salads, oven-roasted potato, dessert, tea, coffee and entertainment. For tickets please call the church office at 834-4567.

Joan Butler is a lifelong resident of Kelligrews, Conception Bay South. She can be reached at joanbutler@ymail.com.

Organizations: Neighbourhood Watch.Lobster and Steak DinnerTopsail United Church

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, Kelligrews

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