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Community to hold crime fair

The festive event is intended to raise awareness of the neighborhood watch program.

By LOGAN D. MABE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 24, 2002


NORTHDALE -- One of north Hillsborough's more security-conscious communities is stepping it up a notch with a neighbor watch program, and a Family Safety Fun Fair in May.

Gary Moore, a trustee of the Northdale Special Tax District, started the neighborhood watch program in the fall and has drummed up member support from most of Northdale's 13 enclaves.

Northdale already employs off-duty sheriff deputies to patrol its roads on a contract basis. The watch program was designed to get more residents involved in watching out for one another.

"Me and another guy in my neighborhood on the south side of Chicago started a neighborhood watch back in the '70s," Moore said. "After 9-11, I really started to get interested in it again."

Northdale neighborhood watch member Sonia Asbrand came up with the idea for the safety fair to promote crime consciousness.

Moore and Asbrand applied for a mini-grant through the county to fund the event. The Office of Neighborhood Relations liked the idea enough to give the group $1,400.

"We just got some people together and talked about what we can do to make the neighborhood safer," Moore said.

Asbrand said she got interested in the watch program after seeing how crime affected people on her own street. "I witnessed a neighbor's house being robbed," said Asbrand, a mother of two. "Unfortunately, the police didn't get there in time."

For the safety fair, Asbrand said the group is trying to line up sheriff's units including the K-9 squad, helicopters and mounted deputies. There will be fingerprinting of children and instruction on how to engrave valuables.

The "fun" part will include rides and games and refreshments, she said.

The group is seeking donations and business partners to help with the event, which will be held May 11 at the Northdale Community Center. To reach him, call 264-2768.

-- Logan D. Mabe can be reached at 269-5304 or at mabe@sptimes.com.

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