Sue and Rob Grace look over plans for the upcoming community safety festival scheduled for Sept. 30.
PINELLAS PARK – The Youth Park Neighborhood has one of the more active Crime Watch programs in the city, and it’s now aiming its sights on local teenagers.
“We want to get more youngsters involved,” Sue Grace, Crime Watch president, said. “That helps instill pride in the community and gives them something to do.”
The group has about 30 members. Grace, a school crossing guard, and her husband, Rob, a second shift assembler, take the time to ensure the community’s safety.
“I can’t get involved as much as I’d like,” Rob said. “Second shift leaves little time for anything other than work or sleep.”
His wife, however, has been a community advocate for years. Besides presiding over Neighborhood Watch, she also is a citizen police officer.
“One of the first problems we tackled were the speeders on 67th Avenue,” Grace said. “We worked with the city council and traffic department to resolve that issue.”
Watch members patrol the neighborhood and call police when they witness suspicious activities. The group helped create a mini park, fought for improved lighting and holds a community safety festival each fall. This year it’s scheduled for Sept. 30.
Watch members have assisted senior citizens and local youth. Rob Grace once saw a group of teenagers throwing rocks at an alligator. He persuaded them to leave the area after explaining the dangers the reptiles pose.
The group even went down to hurricane-struck south Florida last year to help restore the homes of local police officers and their families.
People interested in the Watch program can call Grace at 520-1557 for further information.
“We always welcome new faces,” Grace said. “It’s a community thing that brings people together.”