If you see something, say something. You know your neighborhood better than anybody else does.
That’s essentially the purpose of “Levit Watch,” a neighborhood watch group formed in 2009 by Legislator Dennis Dunne and led by resident Chris Holder, who spoke at Monday night’s Levittown Community Council meeting.
The group was started after a string of about 16 burglaries in Levittown, all of which occurred in a very short period of time in 2009.
“[Town Supervisor] Kate Murray, [Councilman] Gary Hudes and [Legislator] Dennis Dunne spoke with officers in the Eighth Precinct, and they realized that a lot of towns have these groups ... they see less crime with more community involvement,” he said.
Holder, a Levittown resident and an ’83 graduate of Island Trees High School, made it clear that the group does not patrol. What they do is keep an eye out for suspicious activity and relay information via email. Members call 9-1-1 and contact Holder via email, who keeps in contact with officers in the Eighth Precinct.
“The whole concept of this is that we know our blocks,” said Holder, a retired NY State corrections officer and a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. “We know what belongs and what doesn’t belong … the people who live across the street from me, I know when there in-laws are in town, I know when they go on vacation. You know what’s out of place and what’s not right.”
Each street has a block captain, which is basically the leg between the street and Holder. He said that block captains talk to neighbors on their street, because they may feel more comfortable doing that than contacting Holder directly.
“We look out for each other," Holder said. "We call 9-1-1. When our members do call 9-1-1, they are all instructed to tell the operator that you are a member of the Levittown Community Watch."
Holder also gets a “Spin” notification every week. Spin is a communication network that notifies police and community watch groups of activity and big events going on in town, such as concerts.
A big problem facing not just Levittown but other Long Island communities has been burglaries. While the group has been successful in helping catch criminals, Holder said there are some things residents need to do better.
“You can’t trust so much,” he said. “When I grew up here, we didn’t lock our doors. People forget to lock doors now. Although they have subsided, there were three burglaries the past couple of months."
A resident in the crowd mentioned underage drinking and vandalism in Levittown as a problem, specifically behind the Tri-County Flea Market and Veterans Memorial Park.
“Don’t get involved, don't put yourself in harm’s way," Holder explained."Just say, ‘hey, I have something going on here.'"
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