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Sheriff promotes crime prevention, community watch

Halifax County Sheriff Fred Clark is encouraging the public to get involved in the sheriff’s office efforts to implement crime prevention and community watch programs in neighborhoods across the county.

Halifax County, like all counties across the state, faces many situations that are threatening the safety of its citizens.  

“We are confronted daily by schemes, frauds, scams and property crimes.   It is up to all of us to do our part and work together to make our communities safer, whether it be through safety programs, by education or by other means,” said Clark.  

“One of the most important things we all can do to prepare ourselves against these daily threats is to come together and learn what tools to utilize to help keep our homes and our neighborhoods safe,” he added.

Many people have heard of community watch organizations but are not exactly sure what they are and what they aim to accomplish.  

Clark wants to enlighten the public as he and fellow officers promote crime prevention and community watch.

“Community watch programs are a type of crime prevention technique that forms partnerships between law enforcement agencies and communities in an effort to deter crime in a proactive manner.  These programs exchange crime prevention tips, inform the residents of local crime problems within the community and encourage the residents to report crimes and any suspicious activity,” Clark explained.

The idea behind community watch programs is quite simple, he added. Law enforcement agencies need the community’s help of reporting suspicious activity. Therefore, the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office encourages the public to attend the crime prevention/community watch meetings.  

For the public’s convenience, the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office has scheduled these meetings at all of the county’s fire departments. 

The roots of the National Neighborhood Watch Program can be traced back to the 1960s when the United States was experiencing high burglary rates.  However, the idea of community watch originated in the colonial times when watchmen patrolled the streets at night.  

The National Neighborhood Watch Program was introduced to Halifax County during former Sheriff Woody Bane’s administration.  Over the past year, Clark said he has reintegrated the Neighborhood Watch Program in Halifax County but has titled it the “Crime Prevention/Community Watch” program.  

Under Clark’s administration, the first Crime Prevention/Community Watch meeting was held on Aug. 1, 2012 at Arbor Church.  

Since the first meeting, Deputy Charles Newby has been assigned as the Crime Prevention Officer.  

Captain David Martin and Deputy Charles Newby are the two main instructors for the program along with the assistance of Halifax County Sheriff’s Office deputies. 

South Boston Police Department will be assisting with the program in the Town of South Boston, as well as the Halifax Police Department will be assisting with the program in the Town of Halifax.  

“Our Crime Prevention/Community Watch program will have ongoing meetings (usually a meeting every two to three months) and will focus on topics such as home safety, security, identity theft, fraud, scams, Refuse to Be a Victim, Internet safety and other safety issues,” Clark said.

The sheriff said his main priority is the safety of county residents and the safety of officers. 

At this time, Crime Prevention/Community Watch meetings have been scheduled at all of the county’s fire departments.  Other meetings will be held at local Ruritan clubs, churches and any other organization that would like to participate.  

Anyone who may be interested in hosting one a meeting can contact the sheriff’s office at 434-476-3399.  

The meetings also are found in the community events of this newspaper and on the sheriff’s department Facebook page. 

“We are looking forward to meeting and working with all Halifax County citizens together in this effort,” Clark said.

he following Halifax County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention/Community Watch meetings are scheduled:

March 28,7 p.m.,Virgilina Volunteer Fire Department

April 2,7 p.m., Cluster Springs Volunteer Fire Department

April 4, 7 p.m.,Liberty Clover Volunteer Fire Department

April 16, 7:30 p.m.,Clover Volunteer Fire Department

April 18, 7 p.m.,Triangle Volunteer Fire Department

April 23, 7 p.m., South Boston Fire Department Support Center