In 2006 the South Wilkes-Barre and Solomon’s Creek Crime Watch groups merged at the direction of the former crime prevention officer, Wilkes-Barre Police Officer Lori Riemensnyder. Since that time Wilkes-Barre has seen a rise not only in violent crimes, but also in quality-of-life crimes, according to Charlotte Raup, president of the city’s Crime Watch Coalition. Raup said, “Crime Watch should be a neighborhood crime watch where neighbors know each other and can look out for one another. That’s the purpose of crime watch.”
The new group had its first meeting on October 15, 2013, and warned residents about the dangers of encouraging panhandling. Raup told of several instances where other crime watch members have reported panhandlers at gas stations approaching patrons with “sob stories” of how they need money for auto repairs, or for their sick child in Danville whom they cannot afford to visit. “It’s the same story week after week, and by now their car must be fixed, and their child out of danger,” Raup said.
The Solomon’s Creek Crime Watch meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2 Lockhart Street, and is under the direction of its coordinator Mary Ann King, and co-coordinator Katie Grilli. Both King and Grilli said they have seen crime rise in their neighborhoods, and encourage citizens to get involved.