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Free workshop connects residents to public safety resources

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Creston neighbors learned easy tips for home safety, how to get involved in neighborhood watch programs and resources available through the fire department.

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Creston neighbor participants at the workshop learned many useful crime prevention ideas

Creston neighbor participants at the workshop learned many useful crime prevention ideas /Courtesy of Creston Neighborhood Association

By Diane Ensley

Creston Neighborhood Association held a Public Safety workshop on April 29th at Berean Baptist Church.  The evening started with a great meal provided by the Red Jet Café. After dinner we had a great workshop discussing ways to make our neighborhoods safer. We met our new Community Officer Rich Atha. Officer Atha became the new Community Officer for the North Service Area in March of this year. We discussed the Grand Rapids Curfew law. If you are seeing youth out past curfew please call GRPD Non-emergency at (616)456-3400.  If you are not sure if they are over 16 call and let the police find out. Even if they are over 16, this will make them aware that people are watching and may keep them out of trouble.

 We talked about making our homes and yards safe from criminals. Make sure to leave your porch light on and any yard lights you have. A well lit yard is a deterrent to criminal activity. Do you have door and window locks that will prevent unwanted entry? Does your landscaping allow people to hide while invading your home?  Creston Neighborhood Association offers free Home Security Surveys. You will have someone walk through your home with you and give tips on how to make sure your home is secure. If you are interested in having a survey done on your home, please contact CNA’s Crime Prevention Organizer, Mac Brown at (616)454-7900. The GRFD is still offering free smoke detectors for your home if you are the home owner. The Residential Safety Program, or RSP, is a voluntary solution to help homeowners prevent fires. The RSP is designed to reduce the number and severity of fires in Grand Rapids. The GRFD and our partners are offering free services, a list of which can be found here.

With the help of Mac Brown we organized a Neighborhood Watch in 2010 after some home break-ins and car larcenies made us feel vulnerable. Since that time we have seen very little criminal activity on our street. We have come to know who our neighbors are and who is a stranger on the street. We know that everyone is watching out for everyone else now. It is also nice to walk out the door and have neighbors saying hello or to have an impromptu meeting on the street. Our street decided it would work for us to have co-captains. There are three of us and one of us is usually home so that if a problem arises there is someone on the block to help. If your neighborhood is interested in organizing a watch program contact CNA at (616)454-7900.

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