Riviera Beach residents organize for crime-watch program


October 11, 2002|By Peg Adamarczyk | Peg Adamarczyk,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A GROUP of concerned Riviera Beach neighbors has launched a campaign to organize a crime-watch program.

With the help of the Anne Arundel County Police Department's crime prevention unit and the Riviera Beach Community Improvement Association, residents living in Riviera Beach are invited to an informational meeting at 7:30 p.m. today at the Eastern District Police Station meeting room on Mountain Road.

L.J. Bell, who has lived in the community for more than 10 years, is helping to organize the watch program to help preserve the qualities that attracted her family to the close-knit community.

"Over the last 11 years, I have noticed a subtle change in the area," she said. "People do not know who their neighbors are, so they hesitate getting involved when they see something suspicious. If we can get enough people involved in the program, we can change that."

In the past, the community association had sponsored a volunteer security patrol. "But times have changed, and we had to abandon that effort almost two years ago due to lack of volunteers," said Lee Archibald, an association board member.

Many older, well-established neighborhoods have been replaced by a highly transient, growing community where people seek more privacy, according to the Maryland Community Crime Prevention Institute. That lifestyle tends to promote lack of familiarity with neighbors and a corresponding lack of concern. This enhances the community's vulnerability to crime.

The Neighborhood Watch program combines the efforts of police and the community. It is designed to enhance neighborhood security, heighten the community's power of observation and encourage mutual assistance and concern among neighbors.

Volunteers visit neighbors, pass out information on crime prevention and encourage participation in Operation Identification, a property-marking program aimed at discouraging thefts. Neighbors also will be given the telephone number of a user-friendly hot line to report suspicious activity.

"Neighbors can call this number to give information to the police," Bell said. If they fear retribution, tips can be reported anonymously, she said.

The association's next meeting, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Jenkins Memorial Church in Riviera Beach, also will be discussing the new watch program. Neighbors are invited to attend.

Information: 410-360-3252.

Lake Shore open house

Bring the family to Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company's annual Open House at Lake Shore Elementary School, 4531 Mountain Road, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Because of limited space at the fire hall, event organizer Tina Brown said, open house activities were moved to the school grounds.

In honor of Fire Prevention Month, the open house will feature fire prevention information, safety tip handouts and demonstrations, including the fire safety house, vehicle extrication, fingerprinting by the sheriff's department, canine units and the Med Star helicopter.

As a thank-you to the community, visitors will receive a free lunch and get the opportunity to win one of several door prizes that will be awarded every 30 minutes.

Those interested in finding out more about becoming a volunteer can get details. Brown said.

About 40 local men and women serve as active volunteers, fighting fires and providing emergency medical assistance. Another group of 40 or so belong to the auxiliary that raises the money needed to purchase up-to-date equipment for the station.

"Your level of involvement is up to you," Brown said. "Every volunteer at Lake Shore is helping to save lives in the community."

Information: 410-647-5323.

Sport fishers to meet

Pasadena Sportfishing Group will have its monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Earleigh Heights fire hall on Ritchie Highway.

The guest speaker will be Glen James, captain of the charter boat Bounty Hunter, out of Chesapeake Beach. He will talk about the type of fishing done in the lower bay area and share tips and techniques for successfully landing fish.

"This is a great opportunity to learn how to prepare for fall fishing in the lower bay," said George Bentz, group spokesman.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for food and beverages, prepared and sold by the fire company volunteers.

Meetings are open to anglers of all ages. Membership in the group is free.

Information: 410-HEY-FISH (439-3474) or visit the Web site at www.heyfish.com.

Fun run or walk

Runners can still sign up for Bodkin Elementary School's 5K community foot race and one-mile fun run/walk tomorrow. The race and walk will start at the school, 8320 Ventnor Road.

Race-day registration is $15 and will be accepted from 7 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.

The 5K race through the community and the one-mile walk will start at 8:30 a.m.

All entrants will receive a T-shirt.

Awards will be presented to the top male and female finishers in the 5K run in various age groups.

The top three Bodkin pupils raising the most sponsorship money also will receive awards. Refreshments will be served after the race.

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