Yadkin crime prevention groups could be on the rise

Lindsay CravenStaff Writer

August 17, 2012

Lindsay Craven

Staff Writer

One of the main goals of the Yadkin county Sheriff’s Office is to increase crime prevention program in the area.

One of those programs includes community watch organizations. The county currently only has one community watch program set up through the Yadkin County Sherriff’s Office.

The Bent Tree Way neighborhood in Yadkinville celebrated National Night Out, a program that encourages communities to band together and helps fight crime and drugs in their neighborhoods.

Jason Casertano, the program’s community watch coordinator, hosted the community’s event on Aug. 7 and welcomed family members and law enforcement alike to share in a cookout and celebration of the community’s successful community watch program.

“This is my field, I’m a deputy sheriff part time in Forsyth County, and I’m the manager of public safety at Forysth Memorial Hospital,” Casertano said. “It’s an opportunity to meet some of the neighbors that you might not get to talk to on a daily basis.”

Members of the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office hope that the Bent Tree Way community will inspire others to get their own communities involved in a community watch program.

“This is part of our movement to bring crime prevention to the county,” said Yadkin County Sheriff Ricky Oliver. “My hope and goal is that by next year there will be several events like this for me to attend.”

Larry Handy is the officer in charge of organizing crime prevention at Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office. Handy said that the first step toward creating a community watch program is to check with neighbors and see how many would be interested in participating. Once a group has enough participants, they should contact the sheriff’s office to set up a time for your first meeting.

The sheriff’s office will participate in the first meeting, and after that the community is responsible for organizing further meetings and maintaining communication with each other.

“Neighborhood watch is a lot more than just the words; it’s the community coming together,” Handy said. “This is the number one crime prevention priority for me. I want to get every neighborhood in Yadkin County involved in a community watch program.”

Casertano says he hopes this is the first of many National Night Out events for his neighborhood.

“This is my first national night out, and it’s just been a great program to be involved in. I look forward to continuing working with the sheriff’s office in the future,” Casertano said. “We’ve got great involvement from the neighbors. All but two houses are represented. We communicate well, and I have an email tree that I send out crime reports to everyone in the neighborhood.”

Sheriff Oliver said that this is one of many things that the crime prevention department of the sheriff’s office is working on. He hopes that with crime prevention the sheriff’s office can put more focus on doing positive work for the citizens of Yadkin County instead of chasing down criminals.

“Community watch is just one part of our crime prevention community,” Oliver said. “It’s an attempt for us to educate the public to prevent them from becoming victims.”

Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at lcraven@heartlandpublications.com.