Toledo Neighborhood Block Watch has agreed to join Toledo Police in developing a Web site cataloging criminal activity in neighborhoods and posting other information to improve community safety.
Police Chief Derrick Diggs told block watch leaders Tuesday night that using existing technology and social media can be effective tool in fighting crime.
"The bottom line is that we have to find a way to get citizens more involved and work with us to reduce crime in this community. It is seriously lacking," Chief Diggs said. "The technology is there. We got to be able to use it. I envision a day when people will not have to leave their homes to attend a block watch meeting."
The "cyber block watch" concept was among the topics discussed Tuesday during a meeting between block watch sector leaders and police officers at Owens Community College in Perrysburg Township.
The block watch board of directors recently approved going ahead with the cyber Web site.
Heather Buford and her husband, Cory, are among the block watch leaders working on development of the Web page, which can be found at www.toledobw.org. The consensus at the meeting was to have a link on the page to the Toledo Police Department Web site.
She said the Web page could be used to post schedules for neighborhood block watch meetings to keep residents informed of the goings-on in their neighborhoods as well as crime data and experts who could speak at block watch gatherings.
"We definitely need the statistics," said Wendy Kay, chairman of the block watch program. "We want to get into the new age. We would like to get into the new technology."
Another idea discussed at Tuesday's meeting was to allow residents to post criminal or suspicious activity that they observe in their neighborhoods, such as break-ins to cars, burglaries, and vandalism.
Mrs. Buford said the hope is that a dedicated Web site will increase block watch visibility and get more people interested in the program.
"We are trying to appeal to get the younger crowd in," she said.
A date has not been set for going live with the Web site.
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