By Gina Martinez
A Whitestone civic group is working with the NYPD to teach residents the skills to help police protect their community.
WeLoveWhitestone and the 109th Precinct are hosting their third-annual “NYPD Block Watcher” training class on Jan. 28 at a soon-to-be-announced location in Whitestone.
NYPD officers will lead the workshop and teach participants how to help police during emergency situations and how to properly report crimes. According to Alfredo Centola, president of WeLoveWhitestone, officers will teach participants what to look out for, and at the end of the two-hour class participants get a certificate with block watcher ID number. Certifications expire every two years and there is no enrollment fee or commitment.
Centola said that the program gives Whitestone residents the chance to look out for one another.
‘‘So when they call 911, the operator knows they were trained and that person knew what to look for,” he said. “The civic model has always been ‘get up, get out, get involved’ this gives people the opportunity and the chance to get involved. You don’t have to get in car for two hours looking for anything specific, you’re just trained to find things.”
According to Centola, the training helps create more aware citizens who will be better equipped to report crimes.
“I think its important in any neighborhood that people get involved, to know what to look for,” he said. “We live in a world where things happen, studies show when a crime occurs different witnesses see different things, give different descriptions. This program teaches them to give specifics on what to look for.”
The program is open to neighboring communities as well. To participate, send an e-mail to event
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart