Block Watch event to celebrate unity against crimeWritten by Paige Shermis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Afraid of the dark? Criminals aren’t.
This is one of the main tenets of the Toledo Neighborhood Block Watch Program, a branch of the nationwide organization that seeks to be the eyes and ears of the police. Among other tips, they encourage all homeowners to keep their porch lights on to deter criminal activity.
To show solidarity between law enforcement, government and the Block Watch groups in their fight against crime, the Block Watch is asking all citizens to keep their porch light on the night of Aug.6 as part of the Light the Night Program.
In addition, a celebration of Light the Night will take place 5:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 6 at Vistula Manor, 615 Cherry St. A ceremonial light will be used at the program and light refreshments will be served.
The event is sponsored by Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority and the Toledo Neighborhood Block Watch Program.
Lon Shaver is chairman of Toledo Neighborhood Block Watch.
“The event is often called a going away party for crime and drugs,” he said.
Shaver has worked for Block Watch, which was started in Toledo in 1982, since 2004.
“[Block Watch] has a significant history and an honored legacy. We partner with Toledo law enforcement and create safer, more wholesome areas. We try to spot crime and report it to 911, but not [by] taking a stance that’s putting you in harm’s way,” he said.
There are 140 active block watchers watching over eight sectors of Toledo. Sector leaders oversee several area leaders, who oversee each block watcher.
Community service officers, who are Toledo Police Department officers, oversee and guide the sectors. Officer Burna Guy oversees sectors 1-4, Officer Kimberly Darrington oversees 5-6 and Officer James Below oversees 7-8.
“We have empty areas, naturally. We have some block watches that have come and gone. We have some new block watches. We are working on building our organization, and our community service officers are doing a really fine job. The Chief of Police [Derrick Diggs] is being really cooperative and helps me get speakers to my area leader’s meetings,” Shaver said.
A second upcoming event for the Block Watch is a picnic 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug.17 at Ottawa Park, 2200 Kenwood Blvd.
To get involved with the Block Watch, citizens can call their community service officer or Shaver, or they can go to the website, toledobw.org. To get started, they will have a beginner’s meeting with either Shaver or Tracee Ellis, the block watch coordinator.
“We’re really an organization that is based on volunteers. We’re not vigilantes, or anything like that. We don’t tell people to take care of the crime themselves,” Shaver said.
Cheryl Dilbone, Sector 8 leader, has been a Block Watch leader since September 1991.
“The police can’t be everywhere, even if we have twice as many police as we have now. I feel like people are part of the solution or pat of the problem. I want to be part of the solution. I have a nice neighborhood, and I want to keep it that way. We need to take charge and see that things don’t all go downhill,” Dilbone said.