News
WPD concerned about citizen watch groups

By Mandy Underwood

Recently, citizens of Wabash have been creating neighborhood crime watch pages in order to band people together to keep an eye on neighborhoods and report any suspicious activity to the page to make others aware.

Amelia Delcamp, a worried mother in Wabash, has started a Facebook page called Neighborhood Watch In or Around Wabash, Indiana.

Delcamp is hoping that this page will aide in creating a safer community for the children of Wabash to grown up in.

“When I was a kid I could go outside and not have to worry about empty drug needles,” said Delcamp.

“I also didn’t have to worry about strangers coming up to me and trying to talk to me. I could just be a kid playing outside until the street lights came on. I want my two kids and everyone’s kids in Wabash County and surrounding areas to be safe to play outside again like it was when I was a kid and not have to worry about the dangers that come with playing outside.”

The page is set up to be secure and safe for people to post about dangerous situations and suspicions that they have.

Delcamp has made it so that people who want to join the page have to answer a series of questions before being able to join the group. She did this so that the people who are joining the group are joining for the right reasons.

Another page, separate from Delcamp’s, is the Wabash Indiana Theft and Crime page.

The Wabash Police Department, through Capt. Matt Benson, the department’s Public Information Officer, released a statement on Oct. 1 in response to the Wabash Indiana Theft and Crime Page.

The statement reads: “In recent days, it has come to the Wabash Police Department’s attention that individuals in the community have been recruiting citizens to join a group that will patrol areas of the City during the nighttime hours. 

“While the Wabash Police Department commends those who are committed to a safe community, citizens who volunteer have been asked to ‘record, report, and question.’  Volunteers have also been told that they will be given a unique badge that will be easily identified by law enforcement.  America was built on the ideal of personal freedom. 

“People, depending on their age, have the right to be out in public at any time.  By no means does the Wabash Police Department condone volunteer citizens to approach, stop and question people no matter what time of day.

“There are inherent risks in doing this and the detention of any individual should be left to Law Enforcement.  If a citizen observes suspicious behavior, they should immediately contact the police by calling 563-1111. Call 911 if it is an emergency.” 

There are many instances that crimes have been reported on social media, but never reported to the Wabash Police Department, the statement noted.

“The Wabash Police Department will then investigate the matter,” it continued. “Some encounters with suspicious individuals can turn violent in an instant.  Law enforcement officers are trained and equipped to deal with these situations. Wearing a unique badge may allow law enforcement to know who these volunteers are, but could be confusing to individuals they may encounter, putting the volunteers’ safety at risk. That is the last thing a member of the Wabash Police Department wants to happen.

“Members of this department have taken an oath to protect and serve this community, and we take that oath seriously. Our officers work diligently to keep Wabash a safe place to live.   The Wabash Police Department asks that if you see something suspicious call for the police and allow us to investigate.  We want everyone to be safe.”

At this time, the page is still active and people continue to post about situations they find concerning or suspicious.

Benson told The Paper of Wabash County, “The police department is all for maintaining a safe community, but we are concerned for citizens safety.”

 

Posted on 2019 Oct 08