South Buena Park come together to address community concerns

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By Steve Harris With our neighborhood unfortunately experiencing home thefts, car windows being smashed with items stolen, mail packages being taken off house’s steps, and people walking through our area to see what they can take and when—a South Buena Park Neighborhood Watch Committee meeting was needed. After these occurred in our tract, the South Buena Park Neighborhood Watch Committee organized and conducted a meeting to work collaboratively in protecting everyone’s safety and property.

By Steve Harris With our neighborhood unfortunately experiencing home thefts, car windows being smashed with items stolen, mail packages being taken off house’s steps, and people walking through our area to see what they can take and when—a South Buena Park Neighborhood Watch Committee meeting was needed. After these occurred in our tract, the South Buena Park Neighborhood Watch Committee organized and conducted a meeting to work collaboratively in protecting everyone’s safety and property. Meeting the safety needs of our neighborhood, residents Mox and Marlene Miller and I organized a Saturday, Nov. 7 meeting to address our residential area’s crime events. With our Neighborhood Watch committee working to keep those who try to engage in crime out of our tract, this would enhance our safety and diminish home break-ins. It was also our belief that by having a city official, a school district administrator, and police officers in attendance, we could address the issues in a very concise manner. During the meeting (with close to 70 attending), Buena Park Mayor Art Brown (along with his wife, Savanna School Board Trustee Chris Brown), Centralia Superintendent Norma Martinez, Police Officers Lt. Richard Forsyth and Sgt. R. Derringer provided information and answered questions from our neighborhood residents. Mayor Brown spoke of the different legal elements within our city and how they can be used to provide us with a protective environment. Centralia Superintendent Martinez explained how her district works in a very incisive manner to provide key safety resources for every student at every school. Officers Forsyth and Derringer reminded us of what we should do and how we should do it if a likely illegal action is occurring within our realm. Afterward, residents asked questions and often provided background on other crime incidents of the past. It is always the goal of our Neighborhood Watch group to create a calendared schedule of meetings to keep everyone updated and furnish them with insight for protection. We asked each of the attendees to offer us their emails, addresses, and phone numbers to maintain constant contact should the need arise. Mox and Marlene Miller provided their home and a variety of refreshments for the attendees. I contacted the public officials and police officers inviting them to attend. Along with the Millers, we worked together to create a comprehensive agenda so our meeting could be very knowledgable for our neighbors. Also, Berkshire Hathaway realtors Cindy De Los Santos and Amanda Rodriguez spoke about how they wanted to work in a manner of safety and donating to six low-income families in our area by providing each with a Thanksgiving dinner. All of this rewarded those attending an important Neighborhood Watch session. We would encourage all neighborhoods to create meetings with an agenda that is short and focused on what attendees need when they need it. Neighborhood Watch members are not vigilantes. Rather, we work with the police as their eyes and ears to report suspicious activities in our housing realm. By doing what is needed to protect each other, it can diminish crime and increase the safety of our residents. Based upon that, we don’t just watch our neighborhood— we act to keep it safe. Steve Harris is president for the Centralia School District Board of Trustees

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