Millsboro communities interested in neighborly approach to deterring crime

 

MILLSBORO – Residential communities in Millsboro are taking the neighborly approach in taking a bite out of crime.

Six dozen people attended a Sept. 12 meeting hosted by the Millsboro Police Department. The topic: the Neighborhood Watch program.

Millsboro Police Chief Brian Calloway holds two of the 10 Neighborhood watch signs purchased by the department with grant funding.

“We gave information on how to start a Neighborhood Watch program and that we had signs available to hand out to those developments that are interested,” said Millsboro Police Chief Brian Calloway. “It was very well attended.”

Most of the citizens attending the informational session at the Millsboro Town Center were from Plantation Lakes, a sprawling upscale development off SR 24 on the town’s western edge.

Other interest includes the Commons of Radish Farms, Millsboro Village, Houston Acres, Hunters Point and several others.

Through grant funding, the police department has purchased Neighborhood Watch signage.

“As of right now, I have one sign reserved Hunters Point. The Commons of Radish Farms, they already had a Neighborhood Watch program that was up and running but their signage was pretty old. We replaced that,” said Chief Calloway. “Plantation Lakes is such a large community. I think they are right now regrouping and looking at how we can effectively get this done. They are formulating a plan.”

The intent of Neighborhood Watch is for law-abiding residents to be extended eyes and ears of law enforcement in efforts to deter criminal activity, Chief Calloway said.

“It shows that this is a neighborhood that has a relationship with their local police department. Somebody is going to be watching,” said Chief Calloway. “Many of the neighborhoods here are very small, tight communities. Those neighbors are going to know what is unusual more than the police department.”

Chief Calloway emphasized that Neighborhood Watch is not about “vigilantes on patrol.”

“It is not that,” said Chief Calloway. “As a matter of fact, we strongly discourage anybody from feeling that we are arming them to go out and patrol for criminal activity. We want the neighbors to call the police. At this meeting, we also had members from our dispatch center there to go over what they do and how it’s done. It was a way to reassure people if you have a concern to call the police.”

Neighborhood Watch encourages community unity.

“The Neighborhood Watch program is something that has been around for many years. It was a time when you knew who your neighbors were. In today’s world people are less likely to know their neighbors, especially here in a resort community. We market a lot of retirees to our area. “Maybe they are from New Jersey and they just moved down here to Millsboro. Or maybe they are from Annapolis. The hope, and I don’t want to say force, is to encourage them to see their neighbor: ‘My phone number is this. I have these two cars. When we go on vacation we’ll let you know. If you see anything call police,’” said Chief Calloway. “So, the hope here is to get to know your neighbor and if you see something that looks unusual to call the police.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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