Thursday, September 26, 2013

Community Involvement Key to Safer Neighborhoods, Police Say

By Christina Georgiou

Lt. John Remaley, of the Easton Police Department, told
attendees at the city's quarterly Block Watch meeting
Wednesday evening that reporting suspicious activity
to authorities helps make neighborhoods safer.
Residents that see something amiss or that witness suspicious activity need to report incidents--even small ones--to authorities so they can better serve the community, police said  Wednesday evening.

Easton Police Chief Carl Scalzo and Lieutenant John Remaley, who heads the EPD's Problem Oriented Policing program, addressed a group of about 30 people from several city neighborhoods that gathered at the Nurture Nature Center to attend the Easton Block Watch's quarterly meeting.

Scalzo said the number and scope of recent drug raids, including some that shut down makeshift labs manufacturing methamphetamines, have put a dent in local illegal drug dealing, and the department will continue to put pressure on dealers and users.

But there are only 62 officers to the nearly 27,000 city residents, and to do the best job, police need community assistance and cooperation, Remaley said.

"You're our eyes and ears," he said. "The more you get involved in your neighborhood, the safer it will be for you."

Remaley praised the work of various local community organizations, such as Weed and Seed, the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership, the College Hill Neighborhood Association, and others, noting that while they are all separate groups, "you all have the same goals."

He said the various groups should work together and with police to continue to improve quality of life in Easton's neighborhoods.

"Pooling our resources, sharing information is a great way of working," Remaley said.

But private citizens should also be involved in helping to keep their blocks and neighborhood safe too.

"Chances are, if something raises the hackles on your neck, something's wrong," he said. "If you sense something's wrong, let us know about it, and we'll check it out."

The combination of vigilant residents and strong neighborhood organizations can improve the quality of life and increase safety, Remaley said.

"Let's pull all the resources into one barrel and make it a better barrel," he concluded.

While the meeting was less than a week following the homicide death of a woman found shot to death in a pickup truck in the city's West Ward neighborhood, police did not specifically address that or other recent violent incidents at the meeting, and authorities have not issued any further information since the murder that happened this past Sunday.

When asked about it after the meeting's conclusion, Scalzo declined to offer more details, saying that the investigation is still in a "delicate" stage, and that detectives are working diligently on the case, but to release more at this point could jeopardize the investigation.

Scalzo added that he expects more information about the homicide will be released"in the next few days."

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