Crime Watch group hears talk on child ID program
MICHAEL A. HEERY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Lehighton Area Neighborhood Crime Watch and Baltimore Life partnered to present the Safety Smart Card Child Identification Program. Leading the discussion were, left to right, Lehighton Police Officer Ryan Kennedy; Baltimore Life Agent Tara Porter; Lehighton Mayor Donald Rehrig; and Lehighton Area Neighborhood Crime Watch Program Coordinator Byron Schnell.
Lehighton Area Neighborhood Crime Watch continues its mission to help make the community a safer place to live, learn, work, and play.
The organization will meet on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Lehighton Area High School. An accountable identification program will be the featured topic. All interested community members are invited and encouraged to attend and become involved.
At a recent meeting, Lehighton Area Neighborhood Crime Watch partnered with Baltimore Life to present the Safety Smart Card Child Identification Program. Tara Porter, a Baltimore Life agent, was guest speaker.
She explained that when a child is missing, every second counts. Porter noted, "Emotions are running high and you may not think clearly enough to give an accurate description of your child."
For instance - if a child is lost in a place like a mall, a physical description alone may not be enough. It may match the description of dozens of children who are currently in the mall.
"Fingerprints, a current photo, and a child's vital statistics can mean a world of difference," said Porter. "This information should not be shared with any third party."
A child identification card allows parents to easily provide this crucial information to law enforcement authorities when it's needed most. Parents are encouraged to keep these cards in their wallets, diaper bags, or any other handy place.
Porter and her associates offer the child identification card program at various community events - as well as at schools. Through this program, more than 1,000 Carbon County children received cards last year. Updating the identification cards every year is suggested.
In other business, the topic of Neighborhood Crime Watch signs was discussed. Individuals, families, businesses, and other organizations have been making donations to the community program in order to purchase signs to be erected throughout the Lehighton area.
In addition to the metal signs, the group also looks to design and purchase decals, bumper stickers, and T-shirts.
The importance of video surveillance was also discussed. "We know the 'hot spots' around town where cameras should be set up," said Lehighton Mayor Donald Rehrig. "We're looking into it."
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.
Lehighton Area Neighborhood Crime Watch is looking for more community members to step forward and volunteer to help be additional "eyes and ears" of law enforcement.
Jump on board and be part of this project to help make a safer environment for all our neighborhoods," encouraged Program Coordinator Byron Schnell.
He explained that 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.
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. "NEVER approach a possible criminal!"
This 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.