Whitehall Community Group Helps Police Stop Crime Before It Happens


Citizens are helping police take a bite out of crime in one community.

Whitehall's Mobile Community Watch Unit patrols neighborhoods to make sure drivers are keeping valuables out of plain sight. Volunteers make rounds routinely to check for violations on parked cars. It's not parking violations they're looking for; it's invitations to criminals.

Things like mail, change, electronics and even tools.

Tracey Heise spearheaded the program and says it's crucial to raise awareness and help prevent theft from parked cars. She and her volunteer partner Janice Richie, are armed with clipboards and bright yellow vehicle security report cards. The pair case cars to make sure the owners don't become victims of crimes of opportunity. They're hoping their reminder cards will remind people to be vigilant.

Trey Clemens knows all to well how easy it is to become a victim.

"I had a lot of stereo stuff in my car and apparently other people wanted it and so they came and took it," he said.

Clemens says he doesn't leave anything in his car anymore, not even paperwork with personal information.

Heise says others need to do the same.

"If I'm a criminal and I go by and it's like okay I see mail with your address, I'm going to go break into your car, get your address so now I'm going to go break into your house," she said.

The information about what volunteers spot in cars and vehicle information is used for the police department to monitor crime trends, statistics and providing crime prevention techniques to homeowners and businesses.

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