DALLAS TWP. — Criminals, beware. The township will soon have a Community Crime Watch to serve as extra eyes and ears for its police department.
At the March supervisors meeting, Dallas Township Police Chief Douglas Higgins announced his intention to apply for a grant to purchase Crime Watch signs to be placed at housing development entrances and various streets throughout the municipality, as well as Crime Watch informational sheets, training materials and stickers for businesses to establish a Community Crime Watch program.
“It would cost about $1,700 for signs and posts,” he said. “Probably another $1,000 for the Crime Watch sign-up sheets and other information.”
The price tag to purchase 20 signs was acquired from Bassler Equipment Company in Forty Fort, Higgins said. The township road department offered to install the signs, he said.
The township did not budget for the program, so Higgins is in the process of applying for a grant to fund the program.
“A problem with grants is that you have to wait to see if your application gets approved,” he said.
The township may not find out if it is approved until the fall, Higgins said.
Higgins’ Crime Watch program plan is to raise awareness throughout the municipality’s neighborhoods of activity and have residents report to the police when anything unusual is observed.
“Crime in Dallas Township is low,” he said. “This is more preventative.”
Last year, Higgins said there were car break-ins reported, but a neighborhood Crime Watch could help deter such activity.
Dallas Township encompasses a variety of housing developments, sprawled out county neighborhoods and several business districts, he said.
A Community Crime Watch will foster a stronger relationship between residents and business owners, he said.
“I am aware of other towns that did it and want to pull together our town,” Higgins said.
Once the Crime Watch program is operational, Higgins plans to hold monthly meetings featuring special speakers.
“I believe that we will get some public interest when we receive funding and announce the program,” he added.
Sweet Valley, a nearby Back Mountain community, established a Community Crime Watch group nearly six years ago.
Due to the distance between homes, the group implemented a neighbor-watching-over-neighbor tactic, which encourages residents to meet their neighbors and become familiar with their vehicles, according to a 2015 Dallas Post story.
The Sweet Valley Crime Watch group also shares information that includes how to identify certain types of drugs, how to report a crime and recent news of break-ins or other criminal activity.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.