Monday, October 21, 2013


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Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch members have worked tirelessly for at least a decade. For this they should be applauded. Since members are not elected and not paid… in this post I will simply offer suggested areas of improvement with only mild criticism to the volunteers of Crime Watch.


Police and Crime Watch    Police leadership have shamefully let the city down. At best they have offered nominal support. Apparently Chief Dessoye does not feel that citizens have a role in crime prevention. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Police and Citizens    This is a difficult area to address because crime is so rampant that police only have time to put out fires. But assuming they could come up with some free time… can you imagine the impact they would have as Big Brothers to local children? Or perhaps offering recreational opportunities every few months? Relationships build trust. Such endeavors would clearly make Wilkes-Barre safer (and would be far more fulfilling for our officers).

Crime Watch and the citizens    A house divided cannot stand. Many citizens have been “booted” off the Facebook Crime watch groups and have left seething with anger. Many times they aren’t told why. For those of you that don’t use Facebook – being kicked off a group this way feels like a door being slammed into your face.

The disgust has been so intense that other alternative Facebook groups have started as alternatives to “Crime Watch 1.” Groups as large as 500 – 1,000. I don’t know why each person has been kicked off… but what I do know (and is quite obvious) is that the model that Crime watch is using is broken and must be fixed.

The goal is chronic inclusion - not chronic alienation.

Crime Watch’s credibility hangs in the balance if they can’t begin to see their brother and sister as kindred spirits. Police will not support Crime Watch if they are forced to choose between “Crime Watch One” and “Crime Watch Two.” Just like we can’t have two police forces… Crime Watch must stand as one and put differences aside. 

According to “UASONWATCH”.ORG”… without top-down support, it is difficult for anyone in a police department to buy into an initiative regardless of its effectiveness. Therefore, law enforcement executives must be educated to the benefits of a Crime Watch. Strong community relationships and public support are essential to buttressing the work of police in crime reduction.