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Residents Organize Crime Watch Group

The recent crime sprees in Bridgeville and Collier are pushing residents to band together to keep a close eye on their neighborhoods.

The recent vehicle break-in and burglary crime sprees in Bridgeville and Collier has some residents thinking about forming neighborhood watch groups.

About a dozen neighbors living on Laurel Street in Bridgeville are organizing a crime watch group and working with the borough police department to protect themselves and their belongings.

“We know there are a lot of problems here,” said Freda Bellamy, who is trying to organize the group after a rash of smash and grab thefts on her street.

They’re trying to get “Crime Watch” signs installed on the street, but it’s also the sense of community and looking out for one another that they hope will make their neighborhood safer.

Bridgeville police said officers don’t organize the groups themselves, but they’ll offer feedback and assistance if needed.  Bellamy said they hope to meet with the police department to explain to the members how the group can be most beneficial.

“It’s very important to communicate with each other (and) for us to look out for the other person,” Bellamy said. “There are lots of people we don’t know.  But I do know that we do have some very nice people, and they have children, and I think this is something we need to do to pull together and get it done.”

That’s something Collier Township police Chief Thomas Devin said is important in fostering awareness between neighbors.

“We’d eventually like to start block watches,” Devin said. “Those are communities getting together to be social. Everybody thinks a block watch is something to stop crime and everyone knows what is going on. But block watches are designed to be a social group where you look out for your neighbor and know who he is.”

He’s not sure how many people are interested, but he thinks it would help in township neighborhoods where burglaries have been pervasive.

“If you don’t know who your neighbor is, what do you care if someone breaks into their house? But if you know Mary down the street and know her kids and family, you’re more likely to be proactive.”

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