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Connellsville Crime Watch meeting set for Wednesday

| Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 6:27 a.m.

The third Connellsville Crime Watch meeting will feature a speaker from a home security service, and crime watch signs will be available.

Daniel Cocks, one of the co-organizers of the crime watch, said the guest speaker for Wednesday's 5:30 p.m. meeting in City Hall will be Thomas Zabielski of Guardian Protective Services, a business that provides security systems for existing homes, new construction, small businesses, multi-location franchises and corporations.

“We also requested through a partnership with Guardian some crime watch signs for businesses and residential areas in the city,” Cocks said, adding that Guardian approved the grant and will bring 30 crime watch signs — half for residential and the other half for businesses — to the meeting.

“We, as a crime watch group, have to decide the parameter of posting these signs,” Cocks said.

Cocks will go over crime statistics in Connellsville during the past few months to let residents know what's going on in the city.

One of the more recent incidents was the theft from multiple vehicles last week in the city.

Connellsville police Chief James Capitos said all the vehicles were unlocked.

“We stress the need to lock the vehicles,” Capitos said, adding that residents should refrain from placing valuables in their vehicles that are in plain sight to people outside of the vehicle looking in.

“If it's something real lucrative, someone will break a window,” Capitos said, but added the criminals try to be as quiet as possible and look for the easiest target, which includes unlocked vehicle doors.

Capitos said another thing he tries to preach at every crime watch meeting is to contact 911 whenever something happens or if something is suspicious.

He added that last month's meeting had guest speakers from Crime Watch of Fayette County go over their program, where anonymous tips can get someone a reward of as much as $1,000.

“Hopefully, they'll be more aware of what's going on in their neighborhood and call the police,” Capitos said, adding that he would like to see more residents attend the crime watch meetings.

“These meetings are put together to learn about what is going on in Connellsville, what the community can be on the lookout for, and also provide positive interaction between the community and our police department,” Cocks said.

Cocks said he will announce the receipt of a grant from PNC Financial Services to start a McGruff program in the city, which could lead to a county-wide program to educate children about crime.

Thursday will be the United Way's Day of Caring, where the crime watch group will partner with the United Way of Westmoreland County, Pittsburgh Paints, UPS and Downtown Connellsville to cover graffiti under the Route 119 bridge at 10 a.m.

For more information about Connellsville Crime Watch, visit its website: www.downtownconnellsville.org/Connellsville-Crime-Watch.html

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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