By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – In the second year of an ongoing program to bring local police together with residents, Mayor Rick Sollars said the multi-faceted discussions are branching out to select audiences.
A special Taylor on Watch meeting from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Nov. 4 at the William D. Ford Senior Activity Center, 6750 Troy, will focus on safety for senior citizens.
“This year we decided to get out into the community,” Sollars said. “Rather than bring people to city hall we’ve had a number of visits at schools, parks and senior centers. We’re trying to get closer to neighbors and neighborhoods.”
Taylor on Watch was launched last year as a combined informational series and community policing approach to help the city combat crime. Hosted by the city, Police Department and auxiliary police, initial sessions addressed particular areas of the city to help foster awareness and neighborhood-watch participation.
While attendance has varied, Sollars said city and police officials plan to continue the program with separate approaches and updated information.
“These programs have died in the past because of lack of participation,” Sollars said. “We’re prepared to continue whether five or 500 people show up, and continue to build awareness.”
Targeting specific groups includes this week’s programs for senior citizens, a population increasingly vulnerable to crimes such as fraud and identity theft as practiced online.
“Criminals are becoming more sophisticated,” Sollars said. “They’re not just stealing your purse and credit cards but they find ways to steal your identity through phone scams. We have to evolve with the times, and seniors need to know the difference between a real and phony IRS call.”
Police Chief Mary Sclabassi said the program – launched during a period when the city’s budget struggles prevented hiring additional officers – can be both informative and engaging. Even a fully staffed department can’t be in all places, Sclabassi said, and citizen assistance can greatly reduce crime rates in a city.
For more information contact the center at 313-291-7740 or go to www.cityoftaylor.com for upcoming Taylor on Watch events.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected].)