Community activists in Wissinoming will soon have another outlet for their public service. Two years after the Wissinoming Civic Association resumed its monthly meetings, neighbors are now forming the Wissinoming Town Watch in an effort to suppress local crime.
An organizational meeting and free training session is scheduled for Monday, July 11, at 7 p.m. at True Vine Church, 4610 Devereaux St. It will last about 90 minutes. Anyone interested in joining the effort should contact Joe Sindone at 267–444–1414.
Philadelphia’s office of Town Watch Integrated Services trains and oversees about 720 certified neighborhood-based town watch groups in the city with about 20,000 members. Town watch members patrol their neighborhoods and act as “eyes and ears” for local police, reporting crimes in progress, suspicious activities and quality-of-life issues. Non-patrol members can serve in a “block watch” role, monitoring public activity from the security of their own homes.
Patrollers may travel by car or foot and generally work in pairs. Many bring their pets along for the shift. Time requirements vary, but most town watch groups ask volunteers to patrol at least one evening per month.
Greg Bucceroni, a TWIS staff member, said during a June 28 meeting of the Wissinoming Civic Association that the upcoming town watch training session will cover the “dos and don’ts” of patrol, communications protocols and “safe corridors” information, among other topics.
Sindone said that the Wissinoming Town Watch will operate with a central radio receiver, also known as home base, while members on patrol will carry two-way radios. Members will be issued T-shirts.
The group will try to recruit members by distributing fliers and posters in the neighborhood and by attending community events like National Night Out on Aug. 2 at Russo Park.
Barbara Rup, chairwoman of the Northeast Quality of Life Coalition and member of Lower Holmesburg Town Watch, said that her groups will also attend the National Night Out fair. A separate group, the Tacony-Holmesburg Town Watch, is organizing the event, which will include a march on Torresdale Avenue from Rhawn Street to Cottman Avenue starting at 7 p.m. The vendor fair at Russo will follow.
One night earlier, Monday, Aug. 1, Town Watch Integrated Services will present a National Night Out Kickoff event in the parking lot of Target, at 7400 Bustleton Ave. The community is invited to attend.
Meanwhile, Rup said, there will be several public crime prevention meetings this month hosted by the 15th Police District: the Police District Advisory Council will convene on July 18 at 7 p.m. at Mayfair Community Center; the Police Service Area-2 meeting will be on July 19 at 7 p.m. at Lower Mayfair Recreation Center; the district will also host Coffee with a Cop at a site and date to be determined.
For information about all police meetings in the 15th, join the “15th_PDAC” page on Facebook. Updates about Wissinoming Civic Association and its town watch will be posted on the “Wissinoming Civic Association” page on Facebook. ••