NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Neighborhood Crime Watch seeks the participation of North Adams youth, not only at its meetings, but as a creative force.
The crime watch is soliciting logo designs for its program, and the winning designer will receive $100. The contest is open to students in grades six through 12 who reside in North Adams. The drawing/logo that will be chosen will be used on all Neighborhood Watch t-shirts, stickers and letterhead. It is important to think about using mediums that will transfer well into a logo or design that can be printed easily; thinking "outside of the box" is encouraged.
All drawings should be submitted on a standard white sheet of paper by April 10, 2010 and sent c/o NW Art, nbCC, 61 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Write your name, address and telephone number in black ink on the back of the submission.
The crime watch is a collaboration of the City of North Adams, North Adams Police Department and Northern Berkshire Community Coalition; it has 17 captains throughout the city who are volunteering to help organize their neighborhood and make it a safer place to live by simply connecting and communicating with their neighbors.
For more information, contact Ashley Benson at 413-663-7588.
STAMFORD, Vt. — There is a meeting at the Stamford School at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, to start organizing our Neighborhood Watch Group.
Ken Sullivan-Bol will be handing out information and talking about his experience in Washington, D.C., at the National Neighborhood Watch certification class. Join us to discuss what we can do to make Stamford a better and safer community for all.
The community is encouraging anyone with a tip or a lead to speak up and contact the proper authorities. If you see anyting suspicious you must call law enforcement immediately. Call Vermont State Police at 802-442-5421 or Clarksburg Police at 413-663-7795. In an emergency, always call 911.
The revitalized city Neighborhood Watch program will hold its first block captains' meeting on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 6 p.m. at 61 Main St. in Suite 218. The meeting's being hosted by the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, Police Department and City Hall.
This meeting has been called in response to the heightened community concern about neighborhood crime and in follow up to the citywide Neighborhood Watch meeting held last Thursday. Anyone interested in being a neighborhood leader and liaison to the Neighborhood Watch Team is encouraged to attend. The captains' meeting will include a discussion of the breakdown of neighborhood areas, organization of neighborhood watch meetings and community communication.
Organizers say the expectation is that from this meeting, captains can return to their communities and begin the implementation of neighborhood watch in their designated areas.
It is important that as many neighborhoods as possible participate and have neighborhood leadership in this community initiative. Call Ashley Benson at the Coalition at 413-663-7588 with questions or if you are considering participating. The meeting is open to the public.
The page was created by Jennifer Breen Kirsch, a local attorney who's become active in crime prevention after her parents' home was broken into days after Christmas. Kirsch, working with the city and local organizations, has spearheaded the community watch group.
The community effort has been prompted by a wave of break-ins that came to public attention last fall after a number of break-ins in Clarksburg and Stamford, Vt. A suspect believed to be the culprit in the majority of them — and dozens of others through Berkshire and Bennington (Vt.) County — was arrested and charged. However, several of those burglaries have not be resolved and numerous others have occurred in Williamstown, North Adams, Adams and Cheshire over recent months.
North Adams held a community meeting on Thursday night at City Hall to discuss crime and neighborhood action to prevent it.
The new Facebook page states:
Please join the new Neighborhood Crime Watch Group sponsored by Mayor Dick Alcombright, the NAPD through Officer Mark Bailey and Commissioner E. John Morocco, community representative Jenn Kirsch, and the NBCC, through Ashley Benson and Al Bashevkin. To find out more, please post questions and we will quickly reply. Our goal is to reduce the crime rate, as a community, in conjunction with City Hall and the NAPD. We need volunteers and neighborhood captains to run meetings. If you are interested, Officer Bailey, along with members of the team, will conduct a meeting for you and your neighbors, at your home. Let's unite under this common goal to reduce crime in our city!
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is hosting a community meeting on Thursday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m. at City Hall to discuss neighborhood safety and crime watches. Mayor Richard Alcombright, whose home was burglarized last spring, talked a little about the issue at Friday's Northern Berkshire Community Coaliton forum.
The call for a crime watch is prompted by a spike in burglaries in the city and other parts of Berkshire County and Southern Vermont. The first indication of a rise in the area began last fall with a series of break-ins, many of which police say are linked to a Pittsfield man, Stefan Veremko. More recently, homes in North Adams, Adams, Cheshire and Williamstown have been broken into, including the parents of Jennifer Breen Kirsch.
Kirsch, a former Middlesex prosecutor, criticized the handling of the case and is now spearheading efforts to develop local crime watches.
"I think it's a bold attempt. We're going to bring the city, we're going to bring the private citizen, the Community Coalition together and, hopefully, folks will show up and consider the neighborhood watch as a solution to stopping crime in their neighborhoods," said Alan Bashevkin, executive director of the coalition, of next week's meeting.
Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morocco urged residents to contact the police about starting a neighborhood watch.
"Call us up. We'll show you [how] and we'll guide you through it," he said. "And we won't just leave. We'll show up every month at your meeting. ... But it takes a neighborhood to start a neighborhood watch program it takes somebody to step forward and say 'we're going to do this' and get the neighbors to show up."
In any case, said Morocco, "don't leave your car unlocked, don't leave your house unsecured."
Breaking and enterings, or B&Es, happen anytime, he said. "The recent rash were more bold, daytime, but they happen all times of day and night."
The commissioner said about 85 to 90 percent of all crimes - domestic violence, child abuse, larceny - here and nationwide can be attributed to substance abuse.
Liz Shiner of the Elizabeth Freeman Center, said domestic violence has increased and that the county's rate for retraining orders is 40 percent above the statewide rate. The center would be willing to teach neighborhood crime watches how to deal with domestic violence, she said.
Morocco shared some interesting information about how Veremko allegedly plotted the numerous burglaries across the county and into Vermont over the past year.
According to Morocco, Veremko kept a notebook with a list of likely houses. He'd case the house and look up the phone numbers, call and track when they weren't home. "He'd do his homework," said Morocco. "He was probably the most sophisticated burlglar I've ever seen."
Veremko is being held on $250,000 bail after being arraigned on numerous charges relating to the break-ins.