Break-ins prompt block watch in Northwood, founder seeks more members

1/1/2013
BY KATE GIAMMARISE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Members of the Northwood block watch, from left to right, Joe Jeffries,  Becky Jeffries, Kim Gronbach, Audrey Caligiuri, and Connie Hartle, meet at Northwood Fire Station No. 1. The group, which gathers the third Wednesday of every month, is the first in the city in more than 30 years.
Members of the Northwood block watch, from left to right, Joe Jeffries, Becky Jeffries, Kim Gronbach, Audrey Caligiuri, and Connie Hartle, meet at Northwood Fire Station No. 1. The group, which gathers the third Wednesday of every month, is the first in the city in more than 30 years.

A string of break-ins at homes in Audrey Caligiuri’s neighborhood over the summer inspired the lifelong Northwood resident to start a neighborhood block watch.

Caligiuri
Caligiuri

Now, she and her neighbors are reaching out to get others involved.

“Our goal is to educate citizens on what to watch for. And how to prevent crime. ... It goes back to the old days of neighbor watching out for neighbor,” Ms. Caligiuri said.

Being part of the group is “being the eyes and ears of the police department,” she said. The watch group also strives to educate Northwood residents with neighborhood safety tips such as leaving a porch light on at night, keeping doors locked, and letting neighbors know if you will be out of town.

Becky Jeffries, another resident involved in the group, said the more participants who take part, the safer the community will be.

“We encourage anyone [to get involved]. Even if you can only come to one meeting,” said Ms. Caligiuri, who is a leader in many Northwood community activities, such as organizing veterans’ appreciation celebrations and running the Ladies Auxiliary organization of Northwood Fire Station No. 1.

The Northwood Police Department sends an officer to meetings to answer any questions and guide the group, Capt. Jeff Zahradnik said.

Captain Zahradnik said watch members shouldn’t confront anyone who they believe is acting suspiciously, however.

“Just observe and report,” he said. “That’s all we’re looking for.”

The community hasn’t had a neighborhood watch program for more than 30 years; it disbanded sometime in the 1970s, said Ms. Caligiuri.

The group meets the third Wednesday of every month at Northwood Fire Station No. 1, 2100 Tracy Rd. For more information, call the Northwood Police Department’s nonemergency number at 419-691-5053.

Contact Kate Giammarise at: kgiammarise@theblade.com or 419-724-6091 or on Twitter @KateGiammarise.