Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay ‘take a bite out of crime’

Pictured (l-r) are Palmetto Bay Councilmen Howard Tendrich and Patrick Fiore, Officers Peter Judge and Patience
Glasko, Commander Gregory Truitt and Juan Perez, South Operations Division Chief.

Each year, Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County holds an awards ceremony to honor citizens and police officers who have contributed to the well being and safety of our communities. This year, on Oct. 5, marked the 37th year for the organization run by the omnipresent and personable executive director Carmen Caldwell. Over the years, Citizens’ Crime Watch has grown to be a major force in organizing neighbors, communities and groups to combat crime. Today, it partners with 28 police departments and over 800,000 concerned citizens throughout Miami-Dade County.

Pinecrest Police Chief Samuel Ceballos (left) and Deputy Chief Peter Skumanich.

The night began with a cocktail reception where police department personnel and nominated crime watchers spent an hour visiting information booths, talking and spreading even more information about the latest crime prevention methods.

In the crowd were Pinecrest’s new Police Chief Samuel Ceballos and Deputy Chief Peter Skumanich. Police officer Peter Judge, police officer Patience Glasko and Commander Greg Truitt represented Palmetto Bay’s policing unit.

Inside, nearly 500 people took part in the awards ceremony. This year’s master of ceremonies was Miami television personality Brian Andrews. Having been away for five years, he returned to MC and also announced that he was re-joining CBS4, beginning Oct. 8.

Ms. Caldwell assisted throughout and reminded people how important Citizens’ Crime Watch can be.

Pinecrest resident Helen Sonenreich was named Crime Watch Group Chairperson of the Year.

“The minute you educate people and tell them what to do and what not to do, then you know they’re not going to be a victim,” Caldwell said.

The awards presentation was especially rewarding this year for both Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay. Pinecrest resident Helen Sonenreich won the Crime Watch Group Chairperson of the Year award and the Officer of the Year award was given to Palmetto Bay’s Peter Judge. Other winners were Miami-Dade student Crime Watcher of the year Brianna Linden; Cheryl and Richard Sejour for the Citizens Involvement Award; Crime Watcher Janet Masumian from North Miami Beach; and Crime Watch Group Leader awards went to Raquel Batista and Barbara Kraus.

County Commissioner Lynda Bell helped hand out the awards and District 4 Commissioner Sally Heyman was presented with the Eagle Award for being a dedicated partner of Citizens’ Crime Watch.

“Crime rates should never dictate the level of resources used to protect citizens,” said Commissioner Heyman, adding that Miami-Dade crime rates currently are at levels not seen since the 1960s.

Palmetto Bay’s Peter Judge named Officer of the Year.

As usual, the night was a rousing success.

“It’s our time to applaud those who do so much to keep our streets safe,” said Caldwell in closing. “Together, we do make a difference. I was especially pleased with the participation of our county commissioners. All in all, a great night!”

As a Neighborhood Watch Group chairperson, I can attest to the value Citizens’ Crime Watch can bring to a neighborhood. Besides keeping people safe, alert and aware, it organizes them to be the eyes and ears for the police. It also gets people talking and sharing, and promotes community. If you want to form a neighborhood watch or donate to this worthy organization, go to their website to get started,

Crime Watch executive director Carmen Caldwell kicks off ceremonies.


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I’m always looking for interesting people and events for consideration in upcoming columns. You can contact me with your ideas at, or

Hal Feldman (MiamiHal) is a Realtor with RE/MAX Advance Realty. On Sundays from 10 a.m.-Noon, he is outside Wagons West in the Suniland Shopping Center to talk real estate and answer questions. Stop by, say hello and ask him about the value of your home.

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