The Neighborhood Watch program is proven to be a successful deterrent to crime. Police patrols stay in contact with the neighborhood watch members on a regular basis to provide them with guidance and support. The neighborhood watch utilizes cellular phones and radio communications to allow them to call police, should they observe any criminal activity or an emergency situation. The police patrols have also been allocated in a manner that will allow a quick response in most cases when the neighborhood watch is out.
Home and Business Security Surveys
The Town of Chester Police Department conducts surveys of residences and businesses to help citizens and business owners identify areas that may be in need of better security, such as stronger locks, lighting, and procedures to follow while on vacation. The public has been very receptive to this program.
Emergency Business Listings
The Police Department now keeps an updated list of all businesses in the town, including emergency listings for the key holders of these businesses. The purpose of this program is to allow the police to be able to contact business owners should any problems arise with their business after normal operating hours. We have been attending meetings with the Sugar Loaf Business community to help identify any potential problems and offer our services, throughout the year.
House Security Checks
This program allows residents to alert the police of times when they will be away for extended periods of time, such as while being on vacation, and offers the residents our services to periodically check the residence to insure that there is no damage to their property and to check for any signs of criminal activity, such as a burglary. The success of this program is due in part to the relationship that we have been building with our town’s senior citizens. During 2004 officers checked residents houses 1869 times and businesses 6395 times.
Child Identification Programs
The child identification programs have been extremely successful. By working in conjunction with the Park and Recreation Department and Chester Elementary School, over 400 children participated in this program during 2004. In addition to working with Parks and Recreation and Chester Elementary School, we offered this program in various locations throughout the town, such as preschools. The program has been very successful and will be continued during 2005.
Watch Your Car Program
New York State now offers a nationwide program entitled, Watch Your Car. Our agency elected to participate in this program and offer it to our citizens. The program is broken up into two areas. The first part of the program involved identifying vehicles that are not normally driven between the hours of 1:00 am and 5:00 am. By registering people in this program and identifying the vehicles that would not normally be operated between these hours, law enforcement can readily identify any vehicles which may have been stolen, leading to a quick apprehension and rapid the recovery of stolen vehicles.
The second part of this program involves VIN etching, the process of etching the VIN number of a vehicle into all of the windows on the car. This process acts as a deterrent to potential car thieves because with the VIN on all of the windows it makes it more difficult for car strippers to sell parts that can readily be identified as stolen.
PROGRAMS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
Operation Safe Senior
This program was implemented in 2000 and was welcomed by our senior citizens. The purpose of this program is to collect information on our senior citizens and store it at the police department in the event that an emergency occurs. The information would allow us to quickly locate a relative or doctor, if necessary.
We offer emergency notification cards to our seniors, in case an emergency occurs where they cannot alert the police or ambulance personnel of an emergency contact. We print out wallet size cards for the seniors to carry, listing up to 3 emergency contacts and their phone numbers.
Cell Phones for Seniors
We began distributing cell phones to senior citizens in 2003. The idea behind this came from one of our neighborhood watch members. The purpose is to give seniors access to 911 should something, such as a medical emergency or auto accident occur. Federal law requires all call phones to have 911 access whether the phone is actively connected to a service provider or not. By distributing the phones to seniors, we are providing them with 911 access that does not cost them anything. This program is similar to the distribution of cell phones to victims of domestic violence that has been very successful in the past.
Refrigerator card program
This program is designed to aid seniors that have become ill or injured. When an ambulance is called for, the ambulance crew needs a brief medical background for the patients. The refrigerator card program allows for this information to be kept on a brightly colored card that is placed on the residents refrigerator. When an emergency occurs, ambulance personnel can take this card, containing family, doctor, and medical information, with the patient to the hospital.