PITTSTON — Pittston City is about to become safer with the addition of a new crime watch organization.
The organization held its first meeting this week, attended by city residents as well as members of the police force, Mayor Jason Klush, City Manager Joe Moskovitz and city council member Michael Lombardo.
Dupont Crime Watch Secretary Bob Price also attended to offer support and insight the city may need on getting its organization up and running.
“We’ve been successful with our crime watch and we’ve helped other towns start theirs,” said Price. “We’re happy to help Pittston out, as well.”
Items discussed at the meeting included what to do if citizens spot a stranger in their neighborhood or see unfamiliar vehicles parked in driveways or at a blighted property.
Pittston City Police Detective Sgt. Neil Murphy told residents never to hesitate to call 9-1-1, explaining they are extra eyes and ears on the street for the police force.
“We’re excited about it,” Murphy said to those in attendance. “It’s great for us and it’s great for you, as well.”
It wasn’t until city resident Catherine Sparkes approached the city about starting a crime watch that officials agreed to give it a try.
Sparkes, 43, moved to Pittston last November from Hazleton and had no prior experience with crime watch groups.
“Knowing that the other communities around the area had a neighborhood watch and knowing that Pittston’s crime rate is going down now, I wanted to be involved,” Sparkes said. “I wanted to give back to the community, and not necessarily be involved in something that’s happening, but why can’t I develop something that isn’t something already?”
Lombardo was pleased by the outcome of the first meeting.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout,” he said. “There were more people here than I thought would be here. This is a busy time because it’s back to school, there’s tons of extracurricular activities going on and to have this type of turnout at this time of year is encouraging.”
Lombardo is unsure if a crime watch existed in Pittston city prior to now.
The next crime watch meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15 in the council chambers at Pittston City Hall, 35 Broad St.
Sparkes said there will be discussion about setting an official time slot for when the organization will meet as well as public opinion about which guest speakers to invite.
She is also hoping for a much bigger turnout for attendance.
“I would love for there to be 100 people,” Sparkes said.