A group of about a dozen citizens in the greater Crozet area are working to organize a community safety group they have named the Crozet Safety Corps, according to Co-Chairmen Tom Loach and Jim Crosby.
Community Safety Groups are a way to partner with the Albemarle County Police Department’s Crime Prevention Office and neighborhoods. Crime Prevention Officer A.J. Gluba Jr, is the group liaison for the Crozet group.
The groups are formed by a community as a crime prevention tool, to deter criminal activity and promote disaster preparedness. The program emphasizes community involvement and the understanding that a prepared neighborhood is a safer neighborhood.
“Community safety groups do not require a lot of time,” Crosby said, “but the benefits and the relationships that are developed are invaluable to creating a well-organized and secure neighborhood. We are working on developing a corps of volunteers to work within their own neighborhoods to promote the goals and objectives of making their neighbors safer and more secure, and to promote disaster preparedness with the distribution of check lists and guidelines among their neighbors.
“The Crozet Safety Corps is a community safety and preparedness outreach independent of but fostered by the Albemarle County Police Department, the Crozet Community Association and the Crozet Community Advisory Council to increase our community’s safety, promote and encourage disaster preparedness and help deter criminal activity—all accomplished by volunteers willing to be trained and serve with the group,” said Crosby.
“We’re very excited to partner up with the Crozet community to form the Crozet Safety Group,” said Officer Gluba. “It’s based off a program design from the county police but it is a partnership that is citizen-run with police support. The idea is to encourage community members to cooperate with each other in their neighborhoods. We want to encourage neighborhood bonds.”
The four elements of Community Safety Groups as defined by the Albemarle County Police Department are: 1) Emergency preparedness and community relationships are emphasized more than just “watching” for criminal activity and suspicious behavior; 2) The program structure revolves around neighbors getting to know neighbors, using education and social interaction to develop relationships; 3) Crime Prevention strategies and suspicious activity recognition are imperative to the program’s success; and 4) Communication between the community coordinator and the police department’s crime prevention specialist must be free-flowing with questions and concerns addressed in a timely manner.
The county police initiative describes what each member of a community safety group can do as: “Get to know your neighbors and become familiar with their routines. Remember, this is a partnership. Communicate with your neighbors! Look after your neighbor’s house when they are away. Ask them to look after your house. Report all unusual or suspicious behavior to the police. Write down the descriptions of people or vehicles. The license numbers of vehicles are very important.”
The group will have an organizational meeting Monday, June 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Crozet Firehouse. Everyone interested in the mission of the group is invited to attend.
Anyone seeking additional information is invited to contact the group via their website: www.
crozetsafetycorps.org. The site also contains a link to the crime-mapping website used by Albemarle police, which shows the locations and types of crimes reported locally.