Crofton on the lookout in crime fight National Night Out offers tips on prevention

August 06, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

Turn on the porch light and get to know your neighbor.

Those are some simple basics of crime prevention organizers of National Night Out in Crofton want residents to grasp tonight.

Residents are encouraged to turn on the lights outside their home and come to the back yard of Crofton Town Hall between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. for crime and drug prevention tips and activities.

More than 8,800 communities are expected to participate in National Night Out in the United States, Canada and on military bases abroad, according to the National Association of Town Watch, which organized the first event in 1984.

"It's getting back to knowing each other and looking out for each other, not just going in your house, closing the door and forgetting about the rest of the world," Crofton Police Chief Deborah Bogush said of the night's focus.

Cyndi Tabb hopes the event will give a boost to Neighborhood Watch in Crofton. Tabb started organizing a Watch program among the approximately 200 homes on the T and U streets after her home on Trent Street was burglarized at the end of May, one of a string of 16 related burglaries in Crofton between March and June.

"I hope it will spark some interest for those [neighborhoods] who have not developed it, and hopefully it will rekindle the efforts for those neighborhoods that have dwindled," Tabb said.

Her neighborhood should be ready to post the Neighborhood Watch signs and decals by the end of the summer, after enough residents have used an engraver to mark their electronics equipment and other valuables, Tabb said.

"I want to be able to drive down the streets and I want to be able to see those stickers with the eye in the windows," Tabb said. "The more visible things are the more you are able to cut down on crime."

And a little bit of record-keeping can go a long way if and when crimes do occur, Bogush said.

At Town Hall tonight, parents can have their children fingerprinted by the sheriff's office. Residents can register their bicycles with the Crofton Police Department, which uses computerized list of serial numbers to check if someone they stop is riding a bicycle that belongs to someone else. People also should keep their own list of the serial numbers of valuables, Chief Bogush said. If the items are stolen and then recovered, they're easier to identify.

"They are very simple [steps], and generally we like to close the barn door before the horse is out," Bogush said. "But I guess because they are small, people put things off. That's why you have to train yourself, as soon as you take that VCR out of the box you write down the serial number."

The Police Department also will have information on its services such as extra drive-bys of homes while residents are on vacation. And home security companies will display their products.

Children can watch a demonstration by an Anne Arundel County Police canine unit and play "radar ball," where officers will use a radar gun to display the speed of children's pitches. Bows the Clown will be on hand.

Businesses have donated pizza and soda as well as prizes for a raffle that will raise money to repair a Crofton Police Department's Breathalyzer and buy another.

Tabb hopes residents will come out with plenty of questions.

"This is just another evening for them to get more informed and get more involved," she said. "This is kind of a one-stop place to find the answers."

Pub Date: 8/06/96

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