Neighborhood watch seeks to involve residents in safety

By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – Police here seek resident support to help make the most of their dwindling police force.

With a new Neighborhood Watch program, announced at an October City Council meeting, they are hoping to keep the city safe and keep residents vigilant and involved to catch crimes as they happen.

Neighborhood Watch Law Enforcement Liaison Sgt. Eron Feltz said Interim Police Chief James Wilkewitz approached him several months ago about starting the program, modeled after one started by residents on White Street.

“In our economic times, crime has gone up, unfortunately,” Feltz said. “The police can’t serve what we once did. We need your help and your eyes and your ears.”

Feltz is a former Detroit police officer who joined the Allen Park Police Department 12 years ago. A crime prevention specialist, he also surveys residents to help them improve their safety, sometimes for as little as the cost of a new light bulb, he said.

He said residents can help keep their neighborhoods safe through small steps, from reporting suspicious people or activity to changing a porch light bulb for an elderly neighbor.

Recently, Feltz said he spoke to a neighbor who saw a suspicious person make a cell phone call near a car that was later broken into. The neighbor said he did not report the person at the time because he didn’t think much of it.

“Often times many people don’t want to get involved,” Feltz said. “We’re not asking you to take any action other than call. You know who should be there and who shouldn’t.”

To be included in the program, each city block must have half of its residents willing to participate. Each block must then have a block captain, quarterly meetings and a way for participants to communicate, such as a newsletter, email, or a phone tree. Feltz can attend meetings to help guide the residents in home security and crime reporting techniques.

To participate, residents can email Feltz at efeltz@allenparkpolice.org.

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