Friday, Aug 13–Neighborhood Watch Program Started On Boards

OCEAN CITY – Borrowing a
time-honored and effective community policing partnership concept, the Ocean
City Police Department (OCPD) and Boardwalk business owners and residents this
week officially introduced a Neighborhood Watch program for the famous
promenade.

For years, several of
Ocean City’s residential areas have implemented a Neighborhood Watch program, a
public-private partnership in which residents police their own communities and
provide police with extra sets of eyes and ears for suspicious or illegal
activities. On Tuesday, the Boardwalk officially became the eighth Neighborhood
Watch association in the resort with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony under
the arch at North Division Street.

“The idea is to borrow
from the successes of the other associations around town,” said OCPD
spokesperson Jessica Waters. “Just because most of the storeowners along the
Boardwalk don’t live there doesn’t mean the same Neighborhood Watch principle
don’t apply. The Boardwalk is very much a neighborhood.”

The concept began as a
way to unite Boardwalk neighbors, strengthen the partnership with the OCPD and
share in the responsibility of protecting the Boardwalk community. OCPD Chief
Bernadette DiPino said the Boardwalk is a neighborhood because of, and not
despite of, it’s diverse mix of residential, commercial and tourist-related
businesses.

“The Ocean City
Boardwalk is unlike most neighborhoods,” she said. “Not only do you have
residents and business owners, but you have millions of visitors who visit the
neighborhood each year.”

With those millions of
visitors come issues unique to the Boardwalk, and vastly different than the
other communities in the resort with Neighborhood Watch Associations. OCPD
spokesperson Mike Levy said the business owners and merchants are best suited
to keep a vigilant watch on their “unique” neighborhood.

“In the summer months,
most of these business owners practically live on the Boardwalk,” he said.
“They’re up here sometimes 15 hours a day in their businesses. They spend more
time up here during the summer than they do in their homes and they watch
everything that goes on out here.”

Neighborhood Watch
programs are effective and inexpensive ways to prevent crimes in the community
in that they rely on the private sector to provide extra sets of eyes and ears
on suspicious activity. Signs will be posted putting potential criminals on
notice the area is protected by a Neighborhood Watch Association and there will
be block captains assigned to every four blocks or so. Boardwalk business owner
Bruce Krasner is the private sector director for the program and will help keep
the other members, which could reach 100 strong, in the loop.

“The department will
communicate with them and keep them up to date on current trends we’re seeing
on the Boardwalk,” said Levy. “They’ll have a phone tree where they can spread
the word quickly when something comes up they need to be aware of. At the same
time, they can communicate with us when they see something suspicious or
illegal going on.”

The Boardwalk
Neighborhood Watch Association is the eighth established in the resort. Other
associations include Edgewater Ave., Bayshore Drive, Little Salisbury, Caine
Woods, Caine Woods II, Montego Bay and Sundowner Park.

 

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