Winfield crime watch to feature texting service

2013-09-16T18:45:00Z Winfield crime watch to feature texting serviceLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
September 16, 2013 6:45 pm  • 

WINFIELD | Progress continues in setting up the town’s Crime Watch Program in conjunction with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.

Councilmen Don Samburg and David Anderson said the program will be rolled out at a slow, steady pace rather than all at once and that residents are encouraged to participate.

“We started with the curfew (for children younger than age 18 that became effective in July),” Samborg said.

The curfew was a first step to reduce vandalism and late-night mischief by unsupervised groups of children, he said.

Getting information from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and other communities with long-established neighborhood watch programs has been essential in learning what works, Samborg said.

At the June 25 Town Council meeting, Carl Porter from the sheriff’s department provided information about starting a neighborhood watch program.

“We met about two weeks ago with Lake County and met with both Munster and Highland police departments,” Samborg said at last week's meeting.

Winfield’s Crime Watch Program will be organized using block captains in each residential area, a method used in other Lake County municipalities, he said.

Communication using various types of technology will be part of the neighborhood watch program, too, Anderson said, adding that he recently met with Brian Franzik, a Winfield resident and a representative of a texting service operated by Home Pages.

The texting service would alert Winfield residents who sign up about situations in the community. That might include weather conditions, Amber Alerts or other issues.

When the program text alert contract is signed by the council, anyone with a cellphone only has to bring in the phone to Town Hall to sign up.

Samborg and Anderson will share responsibilities as the crime watch program administrator.

Winfield’s website has additional information about the program and how residents can participate.

According to the website, anyone seeing a crime take place or observing suspicious activities should call the police on the crime hotline, (800) 750-2746.

“If you are the unfortunate victim of a crime we ask that you report it to us so that we can monitor the extent of the problem in the community,” the website information states. “You can report a crime via email at administrator@winfieldgov (please state date, address and details of what occurred).”

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