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Haddonfield Neighborhood Watch Meeting Tuesday

The civic association will hold a public meeting with borough officials Tuesday to discuss the formation of a town watch.

The Haddonfield Civic Association is launching an effort to establish a neighborhood watch.

A public meeting is scheduled Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., at the Municipal Hall.

Burglaries ticked up nearly 250 percent in Haddonfield in the latest state crime report.  A pair of borough women helped chase down a burglary suspect last year on Redman Avenue and an Episcopal priest helped collar admitted copper metal thieves last month at Grace Church.

It's a trend that has disturbed Bill Tourtellotte, a past president of the civic association. He grew up in the borough and remembered his parents taking part in a neighborhood watch program here in the 60s and 70s.

Tourtellotte helped launch the new neighborhood watch effort.

"I think this effort is the right thing," he said. "We've gotten real good support from the police department and commissioners. This could be a really good thing that would really grown out of this, create some more awareness and put a dent in the crime situation around here."

The new neighborhood watch effort will not involve citizen patrols, unlike what Tourtellote remembered from the past. The new effort will focus on community awareness of crime prevention, including calling police to report suspicious activity.

"I think it's a great idea," said Ed Borden, one of three members of the borough Board of Commissioners and the town director of public safety. "Neighbors watching out for neighbors, being the eyes and ears of the police."

Herb Hess November 12, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Here are a few thoughts: 1) Town Watch should be effective. It was in Haddonfield in the 1970's. 2) Do we have other assets we can employ that we didn't in the 1970's. E.g. a plurality if not a majority of homes are wired with broadband internet. Can cameras be mounted in a way to protect in-home privacy while still seeing and recording what happens within a neighborhood? These feeds could be directed to the local police station and recordings maintained for a short period of time (e.g. 72 hours) before being destroyed. It would be controversial but it could provide some immediate evidence of criminal activity and yeild clues as to whom the perpetrators are. To my knowledge Jim Rhoads offered to tie his security camera feed at his downtown properties to the police and was rebuffed. Why? 3) If we had more specific details about the nature of crime in Haddonfield and techniques for prevention we could 'incent' homeowners to take the steps needed to deter criminal activity. I suggested this to Commissioner Borden about 2 years (or less) ago and it was rebuffed. An example would be to levy a 'nuisance fee' for the second (or more) time that police respond to a burglary from an unlocked car or home. Also, better lighting, motion detection lighting, better placement of shrubs or other hiding places, etc. We can do more than just send residents around burning up costly gas in their cars to watch the neighborhood. Herb Hess
John Ontario November 12, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Herb Good post. Only one thing...having these cameras would imply another police officer to watch these cameras. We have already shrunken our towns police force from 27 (when I last remembered years ago) to about 20 now. Yet we had less crime back then and more now. How does this make sense for our town? And now we are in fear of loosing our department to this whole Camden County force. If we go to that force we will fail to have better policing efforts. Our guys will be in Camden helping them with murders and gang problems. But we still need Haddonfield to be safe! We need to support our town police department and hopefully increase our numbers, if not, another 250% increase in crime won't hurt anyone will it? It will hurt our town and our town pride, for everything that we have all worked for to make our town the best there is. I mean come on, we’ve had a 250% increase in crime and we still only have 20 officers? How productive can we be with these numbers? (I may not be 100% accurate but I know they are really close) I know the neighborhood watch idea is a start at something, but that’s coming from us as residents, what about Haddonfield’s Chief? What has he done to help this? We need answers…
Bill Tourtellotte November 13, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Herb's points are well taken that technology is a great tool that is only beginning to be tapped in ways to make enforcement more efficient. The idea could work without extra manpower to only review tapes after the crime has occurred to help solve and hopefully deter future crime. I do believe that Rhoad's tapes have been used downtown by police after the fact, but they are not tied in formally. The HCA formed this committee to get the dialogue going and hopefully move it into the action phase. These and other ideas and increased police and resident teamwork could yield all kinds of improved crime prevention techniques as time goes by. Hopefully the attendance and subsequent participation will be good to get this off to a good start.

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