Belle Terre restarts crime watch with weekend event

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 11, 2011

By Nyla Smith

Contributing Writer

LAPLACE – The Belle Terre Civic Association joined efforts with the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Department Saturday to reinstate a Neighborhood Crimewatch in their area.

BTCA’s President Rajender Pannu said the purpose of the event was to raise awareness and to encourage the community to become active in addressing the increase of crime activity in the area.

“We‘re hoping residents understand teamwork is the best way to curb crime,” said Pannu.

Residents were also given the opportunity to register and become a member of the association for a $20 annual fee as well as form “street teams” in the neighborhood.

Pannu said each street’s team members will work together by sharing contact information and alerting their team captain of suspicious activity.

“The team leader then sends out an alert not only to all residents of that street but also to the president either via email or phone call,” said Pannu.

Pannu also said she immediately notifies the residents as well as the Sheriff‘s Office on the email roster without disclosing the source of the information. She includes information such as a description of suspected individuals and the make and model of vehicles.

Parish President Natalie Robottom said as a resident of the neighborhood and government official she is contacted by Pannu via email every morning.

“This is a very active association, and they are committed to the community,” said Robottom. “The need to set up a crime watch is needed, and crime watch signs will help bring awareness.”

The Sheriffs Office offered demonstrations with canines on how they fight crime and protect citizens.

Capt. Michael Hoover said he was glad to hear about the reinstatement of the crime watch, but in order for it to be successful it requires teamwork.

“The more help we get from the community, the more we can accomplish,” said Hoover.

Pannu said although the Links subdivision and St. Andrew’s Estate each have their own homeowner’s association, both have joined with BTCA in their efforts to keep their neighborhood safe.

A representative from River Parishes Hospital was present to provide information on the services offered by the hospital, and St. Timothy’s Episcopal School and Church offered attendees an opportunity to purchase a plot to plant a vegetable garden near the school’s campus.