PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Daniel Bianchi is stepping up his neighborhood watch initiative in the wake of an outburst of armed robberies.
Bianchi issued a statement Thursday afternoon calling the string of robberies on Elm Street "concerning and completely unacceptable." He is calling on residents to contact the Police Department if they had seen or heard something that may be helpful in solving the crime.
"I'm confident that someone has information that can lead to the arrest of this criminal," the statement reads. "Any information provided to the police will be handled anonymously, if that is your choice. Do not ever think you are bothering the police. As I said during my campaign, I want Pittsfield to become the most unwelcoming city for criminals. It will only happen with your involvement."
The mayor said that police have successfully apprehended criminals responsible for a variety of robberies and break-ins that have escalated over the last year or so, "it's just a matter of time before police find this latest armed robber on Elm Street."
Bianchi added, "But I strongly believe that more eyes and ears will enable police to gather information that can lead to quicker arrests. Criminals will go elsewhere when they realize that Pittsfield citizens won’t tolerate criminal activity, and we’re all working together to stop it. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own community."
To provide information to the police about on-going investigations or to report suspicious behavior, residents should call 448-9700, the anonymous tip line at 448-9708 or e-mail police at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working with Police to launch new neighborhood watch groups is a priority for the Bianchi administration, the statement said. The mayor's staff is working to organize information and resources that will be made available to all groups. By early spring, several new groups will be ready to launch with police kicking off introductory meetings.
"At the heart of Neighborhood Watch is the belief that all of us can help ensure the safety and wellbeing of our family, friends and neighbors by speaking up when we see or hear something that seems troubling," Bianchi said. "We don’t need a formal Neighborhood Watch group to do that. It's part of our responsibility as members of this community."
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