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 Crime Watch Official Kick-off This Saturday

April 2, 2008 - The Knightstown Neighborhood Crime Watch is holding a "kick-off celebration" at the Hoosier Gym this Saturday in an effort to raise both money and awareness of the group's activities to help fight crime in Knightstown.

Dan Webber, KNCW president, told The Banner that one of the group's primary goals is to increase membership and participation. He said he hopes Saturday's six-hour event, which starts at 11 a.m. and will feature a hog roast, live entertainment, vendor booths and representatives from area law enforcement agencies, will draw a good crowd and help spark interest in the KNCW.

"We really want involvement, participation and commitment," Webber said. "This is the time for people to act, and actions speak louder than words."

Webber said that Saturday's event has been "eight months in the making." It was last August, he said, that he and Knightstown Chief of Police Danny Baker first discussed the formation of a neighborhood crime watch group.

"I mentioned to Danny that Knightstown should have a crime watch group," Webber said. "He patted me on the shoulder and said, 'Go for it, big boy.'"

Since last August, the KNCW has established a five-member board of directors, become a registered nonprofit organization and joined the National Crime Prevention Council. The KNCW has also held several meetings locally and offered training to its members, something Webber said will continue on a monthly basis.

Asked whether he thought the group has had any impact yet, Webber said, without hesitation, "Definitely. You'd be surprised at how much this has opened people's eyes. … This is one of the best things to happen in Knightstown in years." He said the response to the group's efforts, both in terms of public interest and donations, has been "pretty good" so far, and estimated KNCW's membership at between 60 and 70 members.

While admission to Saturday's event is free, $5 will allow attendees to partake of the hog roast sponsored by Tomkins BBQ & Grill of Rushville. Webber said there will also be hotdogs available for kids.

The KNCW has also enlisted four musical acts to provide entertainment in the form of bluegrass, country and gospel music. The Master's Sidekicks (New Castle) will start things off at 11 a.m., followed by R.P.S. Music Band (Knightstown/New Castle) at noon, Jonathan Roberts (Knightstown) at 1 p.m. and the Randy Gross Praise Band (Knightstown) at 2 p.m. A DJ will provide music from 3-5 p.m.

At least 16 vendors are expected to have booths set up at the Hoosier Gym on Saturday, including several local and area businesses. There will also be an appearance by "Captain Crime Stopper" from the Henry County Sheriff's Dept., and there will children's fingerprinting available, bicycle safety tips, face-painting clowns and more.

Webber said the KNCW provides a good opportunity for people to get to know their neighbors, and he said involvement is not just limited to people who are able to get out and walk or drive around the neighborhood. He said people can do a lot to help local law enforcement just by being "window watchers" who keep an eye out from inside their homes for suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.

All proceeds from Saturday's event will benefit the KNCW. For more information about the group, contact Webber at 345-7146, Kevin Knott (vice president) at 345-5100 or Valerie Trump (secretary-treasurer) at 345-7135.


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