RINCON — A small but enthusiastic crowd of concerned citizens gathered Thursday evening to take part in Rincon’s first Crime Watch Summit at Compassion Christian Church.
About 25 people representing the neighborhoods of Stone Walk, Dasher’s Landing, Lost Plantation, Woodbury, Hickory Knob and The Abbey listened as Chief Mark Gerbino and Community Resource Officer Kelly Powers of the Rincon Police Department talked about a new emphasis on neighborhood crime watch programs in the community.
Gerbino said that community-oriented policing is the philosophy his department will be using. He said, “It’s nothing more than us serving you and us having a partnership with you. It's you deciding what you need and us giving it to you."
The chief said that neighborhood watch is homeland security on the most fundamental level.
Gerbino said that he and Powers will be the primary contacts and resources for the Rincon Home Watch program.
Powers said there is an app in the Ring security system, called “Neighbors,” that many people have installed. It's free and gives users crime information for their area. She said Rincon PD is going to be using that as a way of sending out blast messages to participating neighbors about what's happening and areas of concern.
Following recent incidents of neighborhood vandalism and burglary in the Stone Walk neighborhood, Gerbino talked about how his department handled and solved that incident. Houses and vehicles were spray painted, cars were broken into and guns stolen, among other incidents.
The first step in creating a neighborhood watch for your area is recruiting other neighbors to help in the effort. Then, after connecting with the Rincon Police Department, discuss community concerns and develop an action plan.
CrimeStoppers Director Larry Branson spoke to the group and let it know about his program and how it works. It is expanding beyond Savannah-Chatham County into Effingham County, Bryan County and other areas.
Branson explained that anyone sending in a tip on crime incidents would remain completely anonymous whether the tip was called in or emailed. Someone sending a tip is given a tipster number and otherwise remains confidential. Rewards are available for successful tips.
"If you go to P3tips.com, you will go to an online service that will allow you to submit a tip absolutely anonymously,” he said.
Brian Van Ness of GOL Security talked about security technology that can be used to keep homes and offices secure. He said his company’s technology can help to prevent false alarms and also control features in homes such as electrical, water, thermostat, garage, cameras and more. He also said that GOL cameras can be programmed so that they record people and not animals roaming the property.
Gerbino said, “This is the beginning of a really large effort. I guarantee it.”
He Rincol police plan have similar summits annually with more neighborhoods involved.