By DANIEL HERATY
HEIGHTS – The more, the merrier.
That’s the feeling coming from the Police Department as resident volunteers prepare to ensure safer streets for children during Halloween.
Residents will patrol area streets from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 30 and 31 as part of the department’s Community Awareness Program, launched in January.
The program, which includes emailed crime alerts from Police Department Cpl. Mark Parinello, is aimed at developing stronger communication among residence to help reduce crime.
He said the success of the program has prompted residents to get together and watch their neighborhoods, and that he expects a bigger turnout this year.
“Last year at this time, we had about 45 people working in teams of two,” he said. “This year, we have about 30 residents and about 70 percent of the city covered so far. This year we wanted to organize a little earlier.”
He said the volunteers will patrol neighborhoods looking for suspicious activity, and will report anything they see to police dispatchers, who will then relay the information to officers. He added that volunteers must follow rules for their safety, including refraining from directing traffic or giving out candy or rides from their vehicles.
He said volunteers can choose to canvass their areas by foot or vehicle, but they will not have police escorts.
“Whatever they do, they do on their own,” he said.
He said in the past, community involvement has far surpassed their expectations.
“The response has been outstanding,” he said. “Our people have gone out of their way to help out.”
Last year’s patrol saw no injuries or other incidents, a trend he said he hopes will continue for future patrols.
Residents who wish to participate can contact Parinello at 313-277-7414, or by email at [email protected].
A meeting to brief the patrollers is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Dearborn Police Department, 16099 Michigan Ave.
(Daniel Heraty can be reached at [email protected].)