Crime drops thanks to WPB neighborhood groups - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Crime drops thanks to WPB neighborhood groups

By Chuck Weber - bio | email

WEST PALM BEA CH, FL (WFLX) - Numbers just released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show crime is down all across Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast in the first half of the year.

West Palm Beach is among the communities celebrating, and not only crediting police, but also the city's neighborhood groups.

Mayor Lois Frankel said active involvement by citizens is one of the key factors for the decrease. While crime was off 15 percent in the first six months of this year, compared to the same period in 2008, calls for police service were actually up. Mayor Frankel said, "We like to tell our residents, 'If you see something, say something,'"

Rick Rose, owner of a bed and breakfast and president of the Grandview Heights Citizens Association, said his group has diligently implemented crime fighting suggestions from police. And, he says, it's paid off.

For example, residents are encouraged to call the police non-emergency line anytime they see suspicious activity. "As we have had more calls from our neighbors to the non-emergency line, the number of crime incidents in our neighborhood has dropped," Rose stated.

Another tactic: greet strangers. Rose said he's schooled his neighbors to say hello and introduce themselves to people they don't know and who may not belong. "Criminals are less likely to target those neighborhoods where it appears that the neighbors all know each other and are watching out for each other."

Rose and his neighbors also constantly exchange information by e-mail. "The most important thing a neighborhood can do to lower their crime is for all of the residents to be involved."

Crime statistics show burglaries citywide dropped by 22 percent, car thefts by nearly 40 percent, and, overall, serious crime in West Palm Beach is down 29 percent since 2007.

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