Community Crime Watch on guard for the holidays

DORSET -The holidays may be a time of celebration and gift giving, but they can also mark a time of higher theft. In Dorset, however, the implementation of a Community Crime Watch program may lead to a posssible decline, officials hope.

The Dorset Crime Watch program started the night of its first meeting on Sept. 19, sparked by a slew of break-ins and burglaries in and around the Dorset area. Since that night the community has worked together, posting signs that say the crime watch is in effect, and it seems to be working, according to those associated with the program.

"Its been very quiet since the recent community meeting, with no new incidents," said Town Manager Rob Gaiotti. "The community was successful with recruiting and organizing watch groups for a large section of town."

The recruiting started with primarily residents around Dorset West Road, which saw the majority of burglaries before the program began.

"The community was successful with recruiting and organizing watch groups for a large section of town," said Gaiotti. "They have received the neighborhood watch signs and stickers that H.N. Williams was able to acquire and those signs and stickers have been going up recently. It's great that residents are still very much moving ahead with the organizing and executing of the mission."

"What is watch program does is it offers several things to the neighborhood," said Susan Weiss, one of the organizers of the program. "First of all it is a line of communication, it's a link to law enforcement and the town center. It's a way in which to communicate and also to receive information."

Gaiotti also said that neighborhood groups will begin to meet regularly and that will help get the information out about residents calling the State Police if they see anything suspicious.

Multiple attempts to contact Lieutenant Reginald Trayah of the Vermont State Police Shaftsbury barracks for further comment were unsuccessful.

According to Gaiotti, there have already been a few calls to the state police about suspicious activity, which may have deterred a break-in or two.

The crime watch is based off a Community Crime Watch Manual created by the Department of Justice. The manual discusses how to create an appropriate community watch program as well as how the local government will be involved.

The program works as follows: those participating in the crime watch program are split up into teams based on geographic location and consist of around 15 homes with an assigned captain to oversee the team and keep in contact with State Police.

So now that shopping season is in full bloom what is being done to prevent theft and how will the Dorset Crime Watch aid in doing so?

"Not too much time has passed since we started the program so we still need to be diligent about looking out for each other," said Gaiotti. "The town anticipates increased policing hours around the holidays, as thefts tend to increase during this period."


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