Citizens organize to help fight crime
by Mark Ledbetter
CHILDERSBURG — Armed with cell phones and the numbers of police officers, citizens can become part of an effort to fight crime in Childersburg.

The Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Police Department to form a Citizen’s Watch group in an effort to halt the recent increase of burglaries in the area.

“As president of the chamber I personally need to get involved,” Chamber President Pete Storey said. “We need to sit and watch to help businesses the best way we can.”

Investigator Lt. Doug Wesson said the area has suffered a sudden increase in burglaries since Thanksgiving and that trend continues throughout January and into February.

“Thieves seem to be targeting restaurants,” Storey said.

Old Towne Grill has been broken into and Tierra Caliente, has been hit twice, with one, possibly two attempts foiled by Childersburg officers. The more recent restaurant victimized is the Golden Dragon hit twice since Feb 7.

Many businesses hit by burglars are located in a half-mile stretch on U.S. 280 between 1st Street and Alabama 235 (Plant Road).

Items generally stolen from restaurants have included flat screen TVs and cash registers.

“I don’t blame the patrolmen,” Storey said.

In a recent article Paul E. Daymond, Public Affairs Specialist for the Birmingham Division of the Federal Bureau was reported as writing, “It is important to remember that crime is a social problem and, therefore, a concern of the entire community. The efforts of law enforcement are limited to factors within its control.”

Storey said there will be an organizational meeting of a Citizen’s Watch group Friday at 5 p.m. at the police station.

“This is a great way for the chamber and citizens to step up and help deter burglaries,” Storey said. “We need to get the word out that we don’t appreciate this, we don’t like this and we need to organize to fight crime.”

Members of the group will not be armed with guns but will be armed with cell phones and patrolmen contact numbers Storey said. Storey said they can sit in their vehicles and monitor activities and if there is any suspicion they can call officers so they can respond.

Chief Shane Burnette said he welcomes any assistance the department receives in stopping the burglaries and encouraged anyone interested in helping to plan to attend Friday evening’s meeting.

For more information call the Chamber of Commerce at 256-378-5482 or the Childersburg Police Department at 256-378-7860.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at mledbetter@dailyhome.com

© 2013