Palermo looks to combat crime with watch group

by Nicole Reitz

The Palermo Neighborhood Watch Group met for its second time Wednesday night at the Palermo Town Hall.

Attendees discussed placement of the 54 watch signs to be erected around the town.

The county will put the signs on county roads while the others will be placed by Palermo residents in the watch group.

Signs can only be palced on non-regulatory signs, which excludes stop and yield signs.

One attendee of the meeting suggested that signs be put where neighbors are most likely to make a call to authorities upon witnessing suspicious behavior.

Vermillion, a hamlet at the north town line on Catfish Creek, was noted as a hot spot for criminal activity and will receive a sign. The group wanted to place a watch sign on the Welcome to Palermo entrance but two other signs already hang below it.

The group briefly discussed whether or not they should purchase anti-tamper bolts. To save money, members decided against it, saying that if someone wanted to destroy a sign, they would find a way.

Palermo residents interested in a sign on their own property can purchase a post themselves. The 54 signs were donated by individuals and local businesses, including Red’s Palermo Market, BJ’s Outdoor Power Equipment, Bresnahan Excavating, Kick-N-Chicken, Burtons Truck and Auto, A to Z Contracting, D&D Lumber Company, M&E Firewood, JTS Construction, RJ’s Excavating, Patrice and John Ouderkirk, Barbara Brown, Kenny and Linda Ouderkirk, Tom and Darlene Johnson and Cathy House.

Attendees also discussed the possibility of starting a phone chain. Before police officers arrive at the homes they are responding to, a few designated neighbors could sit in the driveways of the home until authorities arrive.

A post about a suspicious vehicle could also be updated on the group’s Facebook page. A description of the strange car and plate number are helpful to police as plate numbers can be stolen or changed.

Members asked whether or not they would be able to give a list of names of these citizens to 911. Oswego County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Gaita said that 911 is a separate entity from them, but calls in general are prioritized based on importance or level of danger.

For instance, if a senior citizen’s home was broken into, and she believed the suspect was still on her property, a few cars would arrive to her home as quickly and safely as possible.

Many times, individuals who see something out of the ordinary don’t report it because they do not want to bother police enforcement. Palermo residents are encouraged to call the non-emergency number at 343-1313.

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