WILKES-BARRE – Representatives of Luzerne County’s crime watch groups from as far north as Duryea and as far south as West Hazleton filled the county Emergency Management Agency offices Wednesday for a meeting that one county official said is long overdue.
District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis invited representatives from all crime watch groups in the county – as well as any residents interested in forming a group – to meet after learning the county had a crime watch coalition years ago. “I thought it was about time we reorganized,” Salavantis said.
“Based on the increase in crime in our neighborhoods,” she said, “I think it’s important that we all come together (and) share what’s going on in each of our communities.”
Joined by Luzerne County Detective Chaz Balogh and Wilkes-Barre police Crime Prevention Officer Phil Meyers, Salavantis said she and local police want to support watch groups and can provide speakers on a variety of topics. Coalition meetings will enable groups to share information, she said.
And share, they did.
An Ashley Crime Watch representative told the group about an excellent presentation on check scams. Mickey Donaghey, vice president of the Sweet Valley Neighborhood Crime Watch, talked about crime watch window signs the group had made and is selling to raise funds.
Salavantis hopes the coalition, which should meet every two to three months, will help make the county more proactive in dealing with crime, rather than just reactive, she said.