Heights programs promote neighborhood unity

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — The city’s Community Awareness and Light the Night programs are uniting to help prevent crime here.

Both programs held a joint meeting April 30 at the Dearborn Heights Justice Center to give the community tips for a safer neighborhood.

City Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton gave those in attendance advice regarding their houses.

“Trimming bushes and turning your porch light on are just some of the little things we can do to reduce crime,” she said. “We need to unite as a community to improve the meaning of Neighborhood Watch.”

She also said Light the Night program members are working to buy and pass out light bulbs to residents for their houses.

“Residents are the eyes and ears of the community and know what is going on in their neighborhood,” Hicks-Clayton said.

Police Cpl. Mark Parrinello leads the city’s crime prevention bureau which includes several Community Awareness and crime prevention programs.

He told a story about a breaking and entering he experienced.

“I was driving in a neighborhood and waved to a well-dressed man outside of a house who waved back to me like I usually do, not thinking much of it,” he said. “About 40 minutes later I get a call to the same neighborhood and same house regarding a home invasion.”

Parrinello emphasized the importance of residents knowing their neighborhood and what activities are normal in their area.

“Residents need to know what type of car their neighbors drive, who their neighbors’ children are and what time their neighbors go and come back from work,” he said. “It isn’t being nosey, it’s being observant.”

The city launched the Light the Night program in February to bring organizations and residents together for the good and safety of the entire community.

The Light the Night program is led by Crime Prevention Officer Cpl. Mark Parrinello, and co-chairs Carol Stuart, president of the Southwest Dearborn Heights Neighborhood Association, and Hicks-Clayton.

The goals of the program are to bring residents together and encourage support and participation of the community awareness and neighborhood programs.

A formal kickoff event is set for 11 a.m. May 23 at Daly Park to celebrate the campaign.
“We are going to have a Take the Challenge at 9 p.m. the same night,” Hicks-Clayton said. “We are going to ask residents to light up their neighborhoods by turing on their porch lights.”
Contact Hicks-Clayton at 313-633-1845 with questions regarding the event or program.

The Community Awareness program provides residents with Ping4Alerts!, crime mapping through crimemapping.com, Community Emergency Response Team, vacation checks for residents who are out of town and a crime alert email system.

For more information on the program, contact Parrinello at 313-277-7414 or mparrinello@ci.dearborn-heights.mi.us.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at znajm@bewickpublications.com.)