Dwindling attendance dooms Duquesne City Crime Watch
Duquesne City Crime Watch announced on Wednesday that it will dissolve before the end of the month because of years of declining membership.
It was formed by Marilyn Wisbar-Kurutz in 2003 as a neighborhood organization intended to build a sense of community responsibility.
The group of 200-250 residents met monthly in a community room at the local bank to learn to recognize, report and prevent criminal activity.
When crime watch board members Andy Vamos and Susi Davis informed city council of their intentions Wednesday, Mayor Phil Krivacek asked them to reconsider.
“I didn't know until this evening,” Krivacek said. “I don't think they should quit. I think they should take a break. Maybe we can come up with a solution together.”
Davis said the board has voted to conduct the final meeting on Oct. 24, but said crime watch members may reconsider if the city gets involved.
“Very reluctantly, we want to abolish it,” she said. “There's no attendance. It's been going down for months and months. We're hoping someone else will put new life in it.”
Davis and Vamos theorized that many residents might not care enough to protect their own community. Police Chief Richard Adams said that is sad, because a municipal police department is only as good as its neighbors.
“We rely on our citizens,” he said. “We want an active partner in our crime watch. We can't be everywhere, and because of that, we're only as good as people allow us to be.”
In a 2011 letter to the editor, Wisbar-Kurutz expressed disappointment in the decline following her departure from the organization for medical reasons.
“The crime watch is a very important asset to help deter crime,” she wrote. “Just watching out for one another is really just being a good neighbor. But the organization has not been fanning the flames to keep the fire going.”
She suggested conducting meetings at city hall, which she said is accessible and safe.
“Our police officers deserve the help that we used to give them,” Wisbar-Kurutz wrote. “But it is disturbing to me to see ... all the hard work that was done in the beginning go to the wayside.”
Crime watch board members said they don't know how to attract young, eager members, or how to encourage scheduled speakers to honor their commitments.
“We haven't had a guest speaker in months,” Vamos said. “We would schedule them, and they wouldn't show up. We just stopped inviting people after that.”
Councilman Elwood Martin, who sits on the crime watch board, suggested that the city and crime watch officials collaborate on ideas to generate interest and membership. City officials said they plan to attend the organization's final meeting on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Duquesne-West Mifflin Boys & Girls Club.
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1956, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- West Mifflin mall’s Sears to close in December
- Obamacare sign-up effort a local success
- Foundation keeps late cancer victim’s service mission alive
- North Versailles man gets probation in child porn case
- Police investigate assault of man, 38
- Steel Valley may be focus of study
- Utility company helps Clairton customers prep for cold
- Kids get kick out of new comic club at Homestead library
- Mon Yough Chamber lends support to bike event
- Volunteers spruce up McKeesport trail
- McKeesport men jailed following high-speed chase