Lehighton Area Neighborhood Crime Watch continues its mission to help make the community a safer place to live, learn, work, and play. The newly-formed organization will present a gang awareness program on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Lehighton Area High School .

Lehighton Police Officer Matt Arner will be guest speaker. He will detail gang activity, not in Allentown, Hazleton, or Scranton – but right here in Carbon County – specifically in the Lehighton area. It's a topic of vital importance for anyone who lives in or has a business in the community.

At its most recent meeting, Lehighton Area Neighborhood Crime Watch presented a program on the importance of video surveillance. Craig Kovacs, president of Home Technology Solutions in Northampton , was guest speaker.

Kovacs explained the various types of cameras and recording devices available on the market today. Some are so high-tech that they can match facial features with known criminals. He noted, "Even just the cameras themselves are a deterrent to crime."

Placement of video surveillance cameras throughout the borough of Lehighton was discussed. According to Lehighton Mayor Donald Rehrig, "Obviously, we know the problem areas around town where cameras should be set up."

In other business, the topic of Neighborhood Crime Watch signs was discussed. Individuals, families, businesses, and other organizations are being asked to make donations to the young community program in order to purchase signs to be erected throughout the Lehighton area. Rick Bjorkman has already purchased 10 of the signs.

In addition to the metal signs, the group also looks to purchase decals, bumper stickers, and T-shirts.

Currently, the tip line to report possible non-emergency criminal activity is 610-377-4003.

"You know your own neighborhood. If you see something out of the ordinary, call the police immediately," said Mayor Rehrig.

Officer Arner added, "The most important thing is to call us while something is happening. You're not bothering us." He continued, "Even if it turns out to be nothing, at least let us give you peace of mind."

Established in 1972, Neighborhood Crime Watch has proved to be one of the oldest and most effective crime prevention programs in the country. This local campaign is an outgrowth of Lehighton Area Drug and Alcohol Task Force.

Program Coordinator Byron Schnell explained that the community-wide organization brings citizens together to help be additional "eyes and ears" of law enforcement. The program is designed to help prevent or reduce crime by educating the community how to detect suspicious activities and properly report them to the police.

This newly-formed local organization is not just for the borough of Lehighton, but also for each of the townships that comprise Lehighton Area School District – East Penn, Franklin, and Mahoning.

For more information, to volunteer, and / or to make a donation to the community-wide program, contact Schnell at 610-377-1926.

For more information about a Neighborhood Crime Watch program in general, visit http://www.usaonwatch.org/.