The Pinecrest Police Department is looking to expand the neighborhood Crime Watch program in the Village in 2011, with the goal of setting up a program in virtually every area in the Village.
The Crime Watch program was reestablished in Pinecrest and has been ongoing now for two years under the direction of Detective Alexandra Martinez, who also serves as the department’s crime prevention officer. She has been able to establish Crime Watch programs in four Village neighborhoods — Pinecrest (Gables) By The Sea, Palmetto Island, the Sunrise Point condominium community and the area bordered by 124th and 133rd Streets and 71st and 72nd Avenues – and a fifth is being set up.
“My goal is to have as many areas in Pinecrest as possible to be Crime Watch areas,” said Martinez. “Even though Pinecrest is one of the safer communities in Miami-Dade County, if we can get the police department working in conjunction with our citizens through the Crime Watch program, we can virtually eliminate crime in the Village.”
However, Police Chief John Hohensee says that setting up a Crime Watch pro-gram in a neighborhood takes a lot of work and coordination.
“It’s one thing to want to be in a Crime Watch area,” said Hohensee, “but the residents have to be willing to work at it and not everybody has the time or interest in putting a program together. For a group to organize a designated Crime Watch area, they must define a reasonable boundary and then have people within that boundary willing to step up into leadership positions.
“The whole premise of Crime Watch is that all the neighbors are watching what’s going on in the neighborhood, have the means to communicate with one another and have a good method of getting in touch with of us, either through Alex or through our dispatch, to report any incidents in their community.”
Hohensee says Martinez has done an excellent job of re-establishing the Crime Watch program in Pinecrest over the last two years, and he says he supports her goal of setting up new programs in the Village wherever residents need or want them.
“We want to get the word out,” said Hohensee. “We need to publicize the Crime Watch program and make more people aware of how it works and how they go about getting it up and running, and what the police department will do to assist.”
Martinez says all residents interested in exploring the possibility of implementing a Crime Watch program in their neighborhood should call her at 305-234- 2100, ext. 383, or email her at <email@example.com> or pick up a Crime Watch information rack card available at many area business.
“I think there are many Pinecrest residents interested in a program like this, but they just don’t know how to go about implementing it,” said Martinez. “So we want to get the word out that the Crime Watch program is up and running in Pinecrest and it has been very successful in preventing crime. It’s very easy to put together and have it operational in no time at all.”