Fifty concerned citizens crammed into a room at Stoney Creek School, eager to learn about Westgate Neighborhood Watch and what they can do to reduce their risk of being victimized.Nate Ertle, Community Policing Officer for Alpine and Plainfield Township explained that one way for a resident to reduce that risk is to make their house less of a target than their neighbor's. "Neighborhood Watch has the same concept" Deputy Ertle said, “except instead of making your home safer, you are making your entire community safer and less attractive to lawbreakers than other communities."
The organizers of Westgate Neighborhood Watch were almost a victim of their own success, with the room filled to capacity. Another twenty residents expressed an interest in becoming involved in Neighborhood Watch but were unable to attend the meeting. Westgate Neighborhood Watch Chairman Jeremy Kelly said his committee will be busy over the next few weeks, breaking the area into grids and assigning block captains.Neighborhood Watch is a community crime prevention program endorsed by the National Sheriff's Association.
Alpine Township has over ten Neighborhood Watch programs, including a Rural Neighborhood Watch and, and the first Business Crime Watch in Kent County.
Many thanks to those who took the initiative to reorganize Westgate Community Watch, and for canvassing the entire neighborhood. Special thanks to Jeremy and Amber Kelly, Derreck and Sarah DeMey, Carol Spence, and Jon and Jennifer Jenkins. Thanks also to Polly Vandenbroek for sharing her expertise as one of the original organizers about twenty years ago. Thanks also to Deputy Ertle and Sergeant Steve Dombrowski from the Kent County Sheriff's Department, and Bob Fidler, Principal of Stoney Creek School for being our gracious host.