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Police eye crime watch programs for land, sea

The Town Commission will discuss neighborhood watches next month after Country Club Shores residents sought canal watch signs in their canals earlier this month.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. October 28, 2015
  • Longboat Key
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Country Club Shores residents’ concerns about boat thefts in their canals has prompted the Longboat Key Police Department to craft formal neighborhood crime watch programs

Commissioner Lynn Larson requested the commission discuss the possibility of crafting an ordinance next month that would allow for crime watch programs on the Key.

Larson made the request after Country Club Shores residents sent emails to the town last week seeking signs in ther canals informing boaters they are being watched by the neighborhood.

Country Club Shores resident Bob Gault proposed the idea to Larson in an Oct. 12 email, noting that the community of Cortez has signs that label its canals as private and warning boaters that the community is watching them.

Deputy Police Chief Frank Rubino, though, says he will tell commissioners next month the town doesn’t need an ordinance on its books to form crime watch programs. A state stautue allows crime watches to form. 

Noting that Country Club Shores and the Longbeach Village already have informal neighborhood crime watch groups, Rubino suggests making the groups more formal. 

Rubino proposes creating memos of understanding with neighborhood groups that police would keep on file.

“Then, we will attend their neighborhood meetings, get the contact numbers we need for the crime watch and start community policing groups,” Rubino said. 

Although Gault and others are interested in a neighborhood watch that allows them to post signs labeling the canals as private, Rubino said that’s not possible. 

“The landowner does not own the water above the land,” Rubino wrote in an Oct. 13 email. “The water is owned by the state and is considered navigable water.”

New neighborhood watch crime groups, though, that patrol both the streets and the canals, are a good crime deterrent, Rubino said. 

“We can use all the eyes and ears we can get get,” Rubino said. 


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