Crime watch programs get a timely boost and promises of help

Lycoming County District Attorney Eric R. Linhardt pledged his support for Neighborhood Crime Watch groups in the county last week.

Then he did more.

He promised a training program to help watch groups act responsibly and safely as the eyes and ears of law enforcement.

He promised financial support through purchases of tools and equipment, signage announcing community groups and two-way radios.

He promised to assign a law enforcement officer to partner with each group to hear concerns and tips and train watch leaders, block captains and members in areas ranging from setting goals to how to report suspicious activities.

Linhardt’s more-than-lip-service support of the crime watch groups comes at an important time both locally and nationally.

The trial of George Zimmerman, a crime watchman, stirred some negative feelings toward the nation’s crime watch programs. No matter how you view Zimmerman, the trial or the outcome, we believe there the whole affair stirred unfair questioning of a legitimate tool against crime.

Locally, it’s been a tough summer of drug- and gun-related crime.

These are the times when crime watch groups need to be bolstered, valued and used rather than shoved into the background.

Our crime watch programs are a treasure. Anything that can nurture them as a needed source of future crimefighting is welcome.