By T.J. Hug
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
No matter how many illegal activities are stopped by law enforcement, crime continues to thrive.
It only makes sense, once one considers the reality of the situation. There are a set number of police officers working with a finite number of resources, which can only be increased after careful consideration by politicians who may not find it in their best interests to do so. Criminals, on the other hand, have no limit in number. More join their ranks everyday. And, depending on which crimes they are committing, these criminals may only be limited by what they can steal.
In such a world, how can one expect the law to prevail?
It can’t, if left on its own. Yet the casual citizen is not helpless in this struggle. There are things they can do to aide the police in the battle against crime. In fact, in some ways, law enforcement is dependent upon them.
Perhaps the most important of these things, aside from funding, is to act as scouts for the police.
That’s not to say people should go out and seek criminal activity. Far from it. But when one does see something suspicious, it is crucial that they not be shy about it.
There are such people, who have taken up the task of keeping their eyes and ears open to things on which others may turn their backs. They’ve taken up metaphorical arms in Fulton County, ready to do their part in ridding the area of crime and unfortunate circumstances.
The Fulton County Facebook Community Watch Group, run by people such as Janet Creque and Sherri Schwanbeck, is dedicated to creating a network of Fulton County citizens, as well as residents of surrounding towns, who are willing to pay attention to what’s around them and report whatever they may happen to see to the police.
Celebrating its first year in existence, the group, at the time in which this story was written, has 2,103 members. These people work together, informing each other of potential threats in their area, such as a string of burglaries that may be taking place, for example. They will also encourage each other to alert the proper authorities if they see such actions as well.
“If it is an emergency, please call 911.” Creque states in her Facebook post describing the group. “If it is a non-emergency, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department (can be reached at) 419-335-4010. Please call the Sheriff’s department and report all suspicious activity and crime first, before posting here.”
Members of the group inform their counterparts on a plethora of issues taking place in the county, and not just crime, either. Propane gas leaks, fires, scam alerts, and even missing pets are posted to the site in addition to warnings of thefts. The occasional post about where to find affordable pet care can be found there as well.
What you won’t find are things for sale.
“This is not a garage sale site.” Creque proclaimed in her post. “Items posted for sale will be deleted.”
And, of course, civility must be maintained at all times.
“Please be civil, rude comments will not be tolerated. Harassment will not be tolerated and members who threaten others will be banned from the group.”
Which makes sense, as threats and harassment will only put people on the border between law abiding citizen and adding to the criminals number.
T.J. Hug can be reached at