Civilians to organize for security

Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:21 PM.

Sandoval said a strong volunteer base, training and a structured program are all part of an effective neighborhood watch group, such as what already exist in Lanark Village and on St. George Island .

 “We need people who have lived here and know everybody to participate,” Lewis said. “Something suspicious to somebody new in the neighborhood may not be suspicious to someone who has lived there for a while.”

Creamer said safety was a major issue with crime fighting volunteers. “Never approach anybody,” she said. “Try to get the tag number or a description of the clothing, but the main thing is just be safe.”

Palmer Philyaw said he was a member of the police auxiliary for nine years. He stressed the importance of building a relationship with residents of patrol areas. “They need to learn the patrol car is not the enemy,” he said.

“I want to be trained,” said Itzkovitz.

Sandy Mitchem and Jim Kemp, organizers of the St. George Island Neighborhood Watch, attended. Mitchem said her group is anxious to help and offered to assist with training and take prospective Apalachicola watchers along on island night patrol.

She said members of the island watch receive uniforms and ID cards after completing a background check and training. “Educating the community comes first,” she said. “Don’t post on Facebook that you are going on vacation.”

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