By John Toole
---- — PELHAM — Police are crediting citizens with helping to stop crime — and they’re asking them to keep up the good work.
The Police Department said complaints about suspicious people and activity in some neighborhoods led them to target patrols that resulted in multiple arrests in recent weeks.
Chief Joseph Roark said help from the community is a key factor in successful police work.
“We can’t be everywhere,” he said.
But he cautioned, police don’t want citizens taking unnecessary chances.
“We don’t expect anybody to take action on their own,” Roark said. “Observe and report. Be the best witness you can be.”
Selectmen’s Chairman Ed Gleason said community awareness and input are good, but citizens shouldn’t put themselves in jeopardy.
It shows an awareness on their part of the issues the town is facing and represents an interest in the community’s well-being, Gleason said.
“Simply, I believe their involvement means they care and take pride in our town, and will do what has to be done to preserve it,” he said.
Police expanded patrols after cars were broken into in the Hannaford parking lot on Bridge Street, Veterans Memorial Park on Mammoth Road and in the Hillcrest Lane area.
Police made one arrest in July at the Hannaford parking lot after a victim of a vehicle break-in provided a good description of both the suspect and the suspect’s vehicle.
Three drug-related arrests followed this month after police put the parking lot under surveillance.
Another recent drug arrest resulted from surveillance in the Muldoon Park area.
Last week, citizens found hypodermic needles in the Hillcrest Lane area and reported concerns about drug activity in the South Shore Road and Benoit Avenue neighborhoods.
“Citizens are urged not to touch needles of any kind and to immediately contact the police upon their discovery,” the department said.
Pelham doesn’t have any formal neighborhood watch groups, but the department does offer safety courses, Roark said.
The chief encouraged what he called the grassroots support.
“Be aware of your surroundings and your neighbors,” he said.
The department uses a variety of social media and Internet avenues to keep people informed about crime.
Pelham police are on Facebook and Twitter, have their own website and post items to the town’s electronic message board.
Roark said the department also sends alerts and notices through Citizen Observer and Ping4.
Ping4 is geography based, so citizens can get text alerts from various departments as they travel.
“They hit your cell phone,” he said.
Roark received one from another department while vacationing in northern New Hampshire.
“We try to have two-way interaction with the community,” he said. “That’s very important.”