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Neighborhood Watch meetings lead town crime prevention efforts

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

The Front Royal Police Department's newly hired full-time crime prevention specialist has submitted a report that puts some numbers on her activities in an effort to show how she is making the community a safer place.

The report, received by the town council last week, shows Janice Hart conducted 10 neighborhood watch meetings from April through June, the last three months before she began working full time for the department. The report was the first of a continuing series of quarterly reports Hart will be submitting.

Hart's work also included events such as a community paper shredding on April 7 and vehicle identification number etchings on June 3, according to the report. The shredding event involved 8,636 pounds of paper in an effort to reduce identity theft, she said. The etchings were performed on 82 vehicles, the highest number at such an event in the state at the time, Hart said.

Hart submitted the report at the request of town council members, who approved converting her part-time position to full time in this year's town budget.

"She seems to be running a good program," said council member Shae Parker. It's like the chief (of police) said, 'Every crime that is prevented, that is one less you have to respond to.'"

Hart said she was making "in the neighborhood" of $32,000 in her full-time capacity after working several years part time. She said she worked 39 hours a week for years, meaning her full-time status added only one more hour to her schedule.

"I was working full time for years and just didn't get paid for it," Hart said, adding, "When you're a public servant, you don't make money. It's what you do."

Hart was presented with a National Crime Prevention Specialist II Certification on June 11, one of only 30 people nationwide at the time to have received the designation.

Other highlights in the report include:

  • The inauguration in April of the first annual "Celebrate Kids Day" with the Warren Coalition. This is an effort to warn about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and celebrating youth heroes in the community.
  • The first Front Royal/Warren County TRIAD conference, a crime prevention program for seniors.
  • A presentation at FBI headquarters in Winchester explaining the "Refuse to Be a Victim" classes she teaches that offer tips on how to reduce the risk of becoming a target for criminals.
  • Three anti-crime classes at the Senior Center in April, May and June.

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