New Castle News

Local News

January 14, 2014

Shenango police to start crime watch

NEW CASTLE — Shenango Township residents will soon be using technology to fight crime in their neighborhoods.

Police Superintendent Bill Phillips said a new crime watch program will use texting and email as its main weapons.

For example, if there is a burglary in the Castlewood neighborhood, a township police officer will email and text a description of the suspect to everyone in that neighborhood who has signed up for the alerts. Because each patrol car is capable of email and texting, this system allows a police officer to get the information out immediately.

Phillips said the use of technology to combat crime was the idea of the young officers on the force. The department is one of the few that have a Facebook page it uses to announce arrests and communicate with residents.

As a retired state police trooper who had worked in crime watches elsewhere, Phillips said he knows how helpful it can be to have “one hundred eyes instead of two eyes” looking for suspects.

A crime watch also is a “two-way street” with police providing information to residents and vice versa for it to work, he said.

The neighborhood groups would meet two to four times a year and would not require the traditional monthly crime watch meetings, captains or calling trees, he said.

Phillips expects to conduct the first neighborhood meeting by the end of February or beginning of March, although he is not sure which neighborhood will be first. The meetings will be separated by neighborhood because their crime issues vary.

For example, he said, four-wheelers are a summer problem in the Clifton Flats area, but not in other neighborhoods.

The initial meetings will be to find out the needs of each neighborhood. Then, anyone who wants to can sign up for alerts and notifications.

Another facet of the effort is that policeman Danny Tressler and his canine Drago are being designated crime prevention officers. Phillips said he is looking over various crime prevention programs and may adopt one.

Officers also will be made available to advise residents on how to make their homes or businesses less vulnerable to crime.

Other efforts are under way at the police department to better fight crime. Phillips listed these as:

•Cataloging township alarm systems and compiling a list of contacts for when alarms sound.

•Designating one officer in charge of updating protection from abuse orders.

•Adding “Shenango’s Most Wanted” to the website and designating one officer in charge of warrants.

•Appointing an intelligence officer to keep better tabs on known offenders.

Phillips said these functions were carried out informally in the past but he believes the new system will be more efficient.

These additional functions are being done without any increase in wages, Phillips noted.

Since he took over the department in 2010, Phillips said, he has aimed to make it more community oriented. He said that last summer, he named one sergeant and two corporals to improve communication on all shifts. The sergeant is Darrin Cwynar and the corporals are Clint Garver and David Lough.

He also has designated a drug enforcement officer and a sex assault/child abuse investigator.

The department has seven full-time and two part-time officers.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Huston.jpg Greg Huston: Pirates pitching is porous and LeBron’s a phony

    The Buccos got swept this past weekend in their own personal house of horrors, otherwise known as Miller Park in Milwaukee. The Pirates will hover around .500 this year mainly because they do have some stars in Marte, McCutchen and Alvarez, and they play the right way with grit.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 01.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Students team up on paper pantry

    Food is not the only thing that sometimes is in short supply for those in need. With that in mind, students from seven Lawrence County high schools joined Westminster College sororities and fraternities Saturday in preparing a paper pantry for local residents.

    April 14, 2014 8 Photos

  • school.jpg Neshannock approves resignation, agreement, related legal fees

    The Neshannock school board accepted the resignation of business manager and board secretary Melissa Morosky Thursday. Morosky’s resignation is effective Wednesday.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Solomon to head Warner advisers

    The Historic Warner Cascade Theatre has named Nanette Kaplan Solomon chairwoman of the board of advisers. Solomon is a New Castle resident and professor of piano at Slippery Rock University.

    April 12, 2014

  • Consultant hired for downtown riverwalk

    The city of New Castle has hired a consultant to plan a pedestrian riverwalk in the downtown. Council awarded a contract for $30,000 to Macking Engineering Co. of Pittsburgh on Thursday.

    April 12, 2014

  • New Visions slates downtown meetings

    The New Visions Clean and Green Action Team will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the Confluence downtown. The Earth Day event in downtown New Castle April 26 will be discussed.

    April 12, 2014

  • money.jpg County seeks grant to plan for park upgrades

    A plan for upgrading six parks in Lawrence County hinges on a state grant. The commissioners Tuesday approved an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for matching greenways funds to create master plans for the parks, a venture estimated to cost $239,600.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mooney.jpg Mooney named as recipient of Butz Humanitarian award

    Anna Mary Mooney, a volunteer for several community organizations, will receive the 2014 Butz Humanitarian Award. Mooney will be honored at a dinner April 22 at The Villa in Shenango Township. She is the 15th person to receive the award, named after the original recipient, Jack Butz.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Play tells Holocaust survivor stories

    Before Lester Malizia even read the script, he knew he had to direct this play. He said yes to doing “Voices of the Holocaust: Out of the Fire” just because of the nature of the story.

    April 11, 2014

  • Expired medicine collection set for April 26

    The Neshannock Township police department will have a Prescription Drug Drop April 26.

    April 11, 2014