Mayor’s Column: See it, hear it, report it

In this week’s Mayor’s Column, Mayor Mignogna discusses safety in the township, which includes reporting suspicious activity, filling out a free security survey, and more.

“See it, hear it, report it.” You may have noticed signs throughout Voorhees with this slogan encouraging residents to assist our police department in preventing criminal activity.

Crime prevention is the anticipation, recognition and appraisal of a crime risk and taking action to remove or reduce the risk. If you see a crime in progress or suspicious activity, or hear something strange such as a crash, loud bang, or scream, you should immediately contact the Voorhees Township Police Department. Try to provide as much information as possible. In an emergency, dial 911. If your situation prevents you from calling 911, you can now text 911 and receive follow-up texts from the communications center. In a non-emergency, call 856–428–5400. The Police Department’s Anonymous Crime Tip Line is 856–627–7174.

Also, since we are approaching summer, a popular time for leaving your house unoccupied to go on vacation, our police department is offering a free security survey to all residents and business owners in Voorhees. Sgt. Eric Camm, a 17-year veteran of the department, will use his crime prevention experience to educate homeowners and business owners of the dangers associated with crime and burglaries. Sgt. Camm will meet with homeowners and business owners to identify potential security weaknesses. To schedule an appointment for the survey, call the Voorhees Township Police Crime Prevention Office at 856–882–1104.

The Voorhees Police Department is also requesting residents, businesses and organizations that have security cameras on their property to complete a short registration form. The registration does not give the Voorhees Police Department access to your camera system, but allows our police to maintain a database of active cameras in the event a crime occurs in your area. For example, if a burglary occurs down the street from your property, the police would contact you and ask permission to access your camera to see if an image of a vehicle or suspect was captured on your camera. A detective would call you and ask to review the footage. Participating properties will receive a decal with the official Voorhees Police Safe Cam logo to display as an additional deterrent to crime. The form is on the Voorhees Police web page, www.vtpd.com.

The Voorhees Police Department is also active on Nextdoor. Founded in 2010, Nextdoor helps you share relevant updates in your neighborhood and fosters communication with your neighbors on everything from finding a babysitter to helping each other after storms or floods. Nextdoor is a free service that anyone can join. Users need to verify their address to prove they live in the community they are joining. Our police are not able to see any of the content on your Nextdoor website, but you can reply to police messages and send them private messages. To join Nextdoor, visit www.nextdoor.com. You can also sign up and follow our police on Nextdoor by visiting www.nextdoor.com/agency/nj/voorhees-township/voorhees-township-police.

The Voorhees Police Department has also established a “Safe Exchange Zone” in the visitor parking lot at the Voorhees Police Administration Building located at 1180 White Horse Road. There is an area on the northeast corner of the visitor parking lot with a painted yellow sidewalk and signage marking the zone. It should be noted that police personnel are not in the police station at all times and it is recommended that that transactions be conducted during normal business hours, Monday to Friday. If this is not possible, the area is recorded with 24 hour video surveillance and routinely patrolled.

Keeping our community safe is a team effort between our residents and our police department. Please take advantage of the many safety programs the Voorhees Township Police Department has to offer.

**The Voorhees Police Foundation is holding its second Annual Car Show on Saturday, May 6, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the rear parking lot of the Ritz Plaza. Admission is free. The Voorhees Police Department Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance public safety services through charitable gifts.

**The Voorhees Township Public Schools, in partnership with the Voorhees Township Police Department, are hosting the Steered Straight Parent Academy at the Voorhees Middle School Theater on Wednesday, May 17, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The program will help parents learn about the latest drug trends, symptoms and signs to watch for, skills for speaking with your children about drugs and advice to assist in preventing drug and alcohol abuse.

**The Voorhees Police Department will be conducting the annual free Bike Rodeo on May 20 from noon to 4 p.m. at Virtua Hospital Parking Lot D. This program will help your children ride with more confidence and will include training on crossing intersections, exiting driveways, getting around obstacles, staying visible to cars and more. The Bike Rodeo features age appropriate stations allowing kids to improve their bike skills under the supervision of adult volunteers.