Approximately 30 Greenview Shores I residents and 10 guests from Wellington staff and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office gathered to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Neighborhood Watch program.
Based on the increase in home burglaries at the end of 2010, Greenview Shores I residents reached out to the Village of Wellington and the PBSO to form one of the first Neighborhood Watch programs.
Since the first meeting on Feb. 24, 2011, hardly a handful of burglaries and thefts have been reported. As the group began to become familiar with their neighbors, they learned to be the “eyes and ears” of the subdivision and how to report suspicious activity, with one attempted break-in being reported and an arrest made.
More than half of the households became involved in the program, and their voices were heard by Wellington advocates and administrators. School buses were rerouted for the safety of the drivers and students, the entrance at Skipton Avenue was repaved, and donations were collected for kids with cancer. A town hall meeting concerning sober homes was developed from an attempt to rent a single-family home for that purpose. PBSO deputies, along with Wellington advocates, conducted walk and talks, creating a bond with Wellington advocates and the PBSO.
When Tropical Storm Isaac hit Wellington, community managers remained in contact with Team Captain John Shwiner with early morning reports every 15 minutes.
Family events were conducted by Rich Schoenfeld, chair of the Resource Action Committee, for neighbors of all ages to meet and compete. Events were conducted such as the NorthFUNberland Walk/Race, the Patriotic Bike Ride, the Christmas Walk & Scavenger Hunt and the Greenview Shores I Spotlight held at the Wellington Amphitheater.
Village Manager Paul Schofield spoke about the creation of the Neighborhood Watch program and its impact on Wellington with approximately 20 programs currently in existence. Major Tony Araujo, commander of the PBSO West Regional Bureau, presented the group with an overview of the dynamics of operating the agency and new techniques developed to meet the demands of community policing. He encouraged the group to continue to be proactive, as the group has a significant impact in the reduction of criminal activity.
Certificates of recognition were presented to Wellington advocates Meridith Tuckwood, Scott Campbell, Steve Farris, Rich Cataldo and Jonathan Salas; PBSO deputies Daniel Delia and Scott Poritz; and Greenview Shores I residents Rich Schoenfeld, Madeline Gomez, McKenna Wickers and Charlotte Ostrov.
ABOVE: Team Captain John Shwiner with PBSO Major Tony Araujo.