October was National Crime Prevention Month and once again many communities throughout the nation took part in an event called Celebrating Safe Communities.
It was created in 2008 by the National Crime Prevention Council and the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the U.S. Department of Justice in partnership with the National Sheriffs’ Association to promote crime prevention in communities across the country.
Neighborhoods have been participating from small block parties to much larger-scale events. The idea is to get people out of their homes and interact with their neighbors and local law enforcement to help keep their communities safe.
Many Crime Watch groups here in Miami Dade County put together their Celebrating Safe Communities events all month long. These included activities with their district officers and command staff, distribution of crime prevention material, and displaying the police helicopter and the crime prevention bus. Of course, a crime prevention event is nothing without McGruff the Crime Dog’s appearance, and even his nephew Scruff has stopped by at some events.
Some of the areas that have participated this year include El Portal, Miami Lakes, Pinecrest, Biscayne Park and the Miami-Dade Police Department’s South, Midwest, Kendall, Hammocks and Intracoastal districts.
Speaking of crime prevention, another exciting moment this month was the annual Florida Crime Prevention Association’s Southern States Conference, which took place Oct. 14-18 in Sarasota. Miami-Dade Citizens Crime Watch staff attended along with colleagues from elsewhere in Florida. The conference included classes on such topics as financial and investment fraud, gang recognition, identity theft and crime prevention.
Our very own Carmen Caldwell presented on the topic of neighborhood watches. (Carmen is recovering from a bad case of food poisoning this week, but will return to writing this column soon.)
It is also an opportunity to reward the hard work of the many crime-prevention officers and volunteers at an awards banquet during the conference. The Palmetto Bay police won for crime prevention unit of the year. Officers Peter Judge and Patience Glasko work diligently in various crime prevention programs in the village.
Until next time, be safe and remember to get involved in your community!