Column: Why Crime Watch has been a success
Rindge Community Crime Watch is a Neighborhood Watch program with the objective of preventing crime by stressing education and common sense. It teaches Rindge residents how to help themselves by identifying and reporting suspicious activity in their neighborhoods. In addition, it provides residents the opportunity to make their neighborhoods safer and improve the quality of life. The motivation for creating Rindge Community Crime Watchers was the frustration with crime like burglaries and vandalism and the encouragement of the Rindge Police Department. The department was looking for community assistance to expand the eyes and ears of its officers to decrease opportunities for criminals to commit crimes.
Rindge Community Crime Watch is almost two years old with 141 members and growing. We believe this is a very successful start with the intention to continue to grow. Our success is for several reasons.
The Rindge Police Department: The department under the current leadership of Chief Frank Morrill encouraged the formation of the Rindge Community Crime Watch by helping direct concerned citizens to positive steps to reduce crime. The Police Department’s continuing support and encouragement is critical to our success.
Leadership: Successful volunteer organizations need “champions.” These are people who are committed to the concept and willing to devote their time and energy to building the organization. We are fortunate to have past and present officers and members who have unselfishly solicited membership, created a website, raised money for expenses and organized training while all the time setting an example for residents Rindge. To share the responsibilities, Rindge was divided into four zones, each with its own captain. These captains effectively communicate Crime Watch information to their zone members.
Town of Rindge: The support of the Town of Rindge is critical to the success of the Rindge Community Crime Watch. The selectmen and the town administrator have encouraged, guided and actively supported us and we have regularly communicated challenges and successes to the town leadership.
Rindge Community Organizations: The Rindge Community Crime Watch has been active in meeting with other Rindge organizations like churches, businesses and Franklin Pierce University to establish mutually supportive relationships for the betterment of Rindge. Franklin Pierce was especially helpful in allowing us to hang our signs below their four signs at the entrances to Rindge on Routes 119 and 202.
Regular Meetings: Rindge Community Crime Watch meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Rindge Recreational Department on Wellington Road with some zones holding additional meetings. This helps build identity and camaraderie as well as serving as an effective way to address concerns. The chief and several offices of the Police Department always attend the meetings to provided local crime information and guidance on how we can assist. Attendance at the meetings is highest when we provide training and home owner informational sessions. Examples include presentations on alarm systems/cameras and demonstrations of police equipment.
Although the deterrence of crime is our primary objective, we are especially proud of the way in which the Rindge Community Crime Watch has brought neighbors together, creating more caring neighborhoods. We are a relatively small town and when neighbors work together and care about each other, nothing is insurmountable.
Membership is free and we invite interested residents to attend our meetings. Please see our website (rindgecrimewatchers.org) for contact information.
Jim Grant is on the Finance and Fundraising Committee.