County officials adopt crime slogan; Signs to be put up to ward off crime

By Britne Reeves

Staff Writer

 

Van Zandt County now has an official slogan: Van Zandt County – A Crime Watch County.

Van Zandt County Commissioners approved the new catchphrase April 28.

Chairperson of the VZC Precinct Watch Program Buster Leavell said the PWP has grown to more than 300 members that patrol thousands of miles around the county.

“Since April 26, 2013, statistical charts show that the program may be having an impact on crime in the county,” Leavell said.

For many years neighborhoods around the United States have gathered volunteers and created neighborhood crime watch programs, he said. “These programs, within multiple states, counties and cities, have proven to be quite effective in carrying out crime prevention activities and reducing crime within those neighborhoods.”

However, VZC has a crime watch program that is quite different than those surrounding it, Leavell said. What makes Van Zandt County’s crime watch program unique, he said, is that it is organized into crime watches by precincts, thus the Precinct Watch Program. 

Within each precinct – the equivalent of neighborhoods – is a geographic division known as a “sector.”  There are 79 sectors taking in all of Van Zandt County. 

Leavell said he knows of no other county in the U.S. designated like VZC is.

“To my knowledge, and based on my research on the internet, there is no other county in the State of Texas, or the U.S. for that matter, that is so designated,” he said.

Neighborhood crime watches are often found within municipal neighborhoods and developments, and there are a few county-wide crime watch programs. 

“The county-wide crime watch programs are also based on citizen initiatives to organize groups of residences into neighborhood crime watches scattered around the county, and they characteristically leave out homes located in rural areas,” said Leavell. 

 

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