EGG HARBOR CITY — Organizers of the recently formed Egg Harbor City Neighborhood Watch Program held their second meeting Wednesday, Feb. 7 at the Community School.
Speakers included Galloway Township Police Chief Donna Higbee, Atlantic County Coalition for a Safe Community Chairman Perry Mays, and Candace Negron, vice chairwoman of the city's Coalition for a Safe Community.
Higbee talked about the operation of the neighborhood watch program in Galloway.
“We have a lot of participation, especially in the Blue Heron Pines development,” she said. “It is not an easy program to start, especially in a large township such as ours. Egg Harbor City is laid out much better.”
She said neighborhood watch participants should always walk in pairs and act on their suspicions.
“You might see a garage door left open at night,” she said. “Knock on the door to let them know. They may have left it open on purpose, but if not, you are doing them a big favor.
“Start out small with quality of life issues such as that. Don’t get into this thinking you are a police officer.”
Officer Keith Armour of the Egg Harbor City police urged residents to contact the department if they notice any suspicious activity.
“We have a lot of out-of-towners who come here to purchase drugs,” he said.
Rather than call the number listed for the city Police Department, he advised residents to call 609-625-2700 to reach the Hamilton Township police dispatch unit, which handles Egg Harbor City's emergency calls.
Mays explained some of the programs the Coalition for a Safe Community provides.
“We have a very successful program in Atlantic City where we hold community walks in the Stanley Holmes Village,” he said.
“We walk hand in hand with members of law enforcement, the clergy and youth in the community. This teamwork has led to receiving tips about unlawful activities taking place.”
“We also work proactively with the schools to provide health screenings and hand out healthy foods. We help to reinforce what is taught in the schools.”
Mays and Negron invited the Neighborhood Watch to join the coalition as a subcommittee.
“We support and encourage your program,” Negron said.
Mays said resources the coalition can provide include funding for community events, flyers and brochures, legal or religious assistance, and a wealth of knowledge, experience and assistance.
Egg Harbor City Neighborhood Watch organizer Reed Cramer outlined plans for the group.
“As spring approaches, we will be organizing community activities to help everyone familiarize themselves with the people in their neighborhoods and those who can help,” he said.
“We will organize community walks where coalition members, members of the Neighborhood Watch, police, clergy and others go into neighborhoods in need of attention to meet the residents and show they are not forgotten. Another idea, still in development, is a block party, open to everyone, where residents can interact in a casual setting.”
Cramer urged residents to familiarize themselves with and participate on the group’s Facebook page, EHC Neighborhood Watch.