ERIE COUNTY DA, NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH AND BONNELL COLLISION FORM PARTNERSHIP TO ENHANCE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH EFFORTSApril 12, 2012
The Erie County District Attorney's Office, Erie Neighborhood Watch Council, and Bonnell's Collision will be holding a press conference at Bonnell's Collision, 2570 West 26th Street, Erie, PA on April 12, 2012 at 2:00 P.M. to announce a unique public/private partnership to assist Erie County Neighborhood Watch efforts.
Erie County Neighborhood Watch is primarily a crime prevention program that stresses education and common sense. It teaches citizens how to help themselves by identifying and reporting suspicious activity in their neighborhoods while increasing a sense of community overall.
The County of Erie has sixty-three individual Neighborhood Watch groups that work together under the umbrella of the Erie Neighborhood Watch Council to assist each other in creating a better quality of life for the entire county.
One of the major obstacles to Neighborhood Watch has always been funding. In 2010 Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri, in an effort to help citizens fund Neighborhood Watch, sought out and successfully obtained a Mark of Distinction grant from Markham Vineyards in Napa Valley, California. Erie County was one of only two communities nationwide to earn a Markham Mark of Distinction.
Funding from Markham Vineyards was used to enhance cooperative efforts between Erie County Neighborhood Watch, the Erie County District Attorney's Office, the Erie Bureau of Police, and other state and local law enforcement to reduce crime and create safer neighborhoods.
ErieAlert.com, the District Attorney's website, was rebuilt to provide more timely information to citizens. ErieAlerts on Twitter is providing nearly real-time information, as more than 6,700 people 'úfollow'Ě ErieAlerts on their computers and smartphones. Many of the followers re-tweet the messages to others in their social networks, making the distribution of this important information a significant communications avenue for citizen safety. With this latest initiative, ErieAlerts can now be a funding source for the Erie Neighborhood Watch Council.
Bonnell's Collision, a prominent Erie County business, recognizes the importance of a quality Neighborhood Watch, and has stepped forth to be the first prime sponsor of ErieAlerts on Twitter. In doing so, Bonnell's advertisements will generate funds to the Erie Neighborhood Watch Council. The Council, in turn, will issue grants to individual watch groups for the purchase of watch signs, equipment (flashlights, hats, jackets or vests), neighborhood clean-up supplies, gardening supplies to beautify neighborhoods, and other items or programs to bring neighbors together to create safer neighborhoods. 'úThis is a fantastic opportunity for Neighborhood Watch groups to earn funds for their efforts,'Ě says District Attorney Jack Daneri. 'úHats off to Bonnell's for helping us get the ball rolling on yet another effort to assist the watch groups. With sustainable funding generated by their ErieAlerts sponsorship, Bonnell's has demonstrated its investment in our crime-prevention efforts. Hopefully others will follow their example.'Ě
How the program will work:
ErieAlerts is a Twitter feed that provides public safety information to those people that choose to follow it.
Public safety information is posted to ErieAlerts by volunteers from the various individual watch groups that listen to police, fire, and emergency scanners, or witness crime or public safety issues in their neighborhoods.
Businesses will have the opportunity to place limited advertisements on ErieAlerts by contacting the Erie Neighborhood Watch Council. As posts are made to ErieAlerts, occasional posts will signify that a specific hour of ErieAlerts is being sponsored by the business.
Neighborhood Watch volunteers actively posting information to ErieAlerts will earn money which will be granted to these volunteers' parent group. Each group receiving monetary awards will in turn utilize those funds for neighborhood cleanups, equipment, enhancement activities, and get togethers.