Organization would come under umbrella of Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition

Last updated: July 18. 2014 12:10AM - 2580 Views
By - jlynott@civitasmedia.com

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WILKES-BARRE — A crime watch group is planned for Kirby Park, the area where a teenage girl was reportedly sexually assaulted Monday afternoon.
The group would come under the umbrella of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition that covers the city, said Donald “Rich” Hosey of the Susquehanna River Watch.
Hosey, of Kingston, unveiled the plans for the group at last week's city council meeting. The group would pick up where an earlier group left off approximately five years ago.
Hosey could not be reached for further comment.
Charlotte Raup, president of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition, Wednesday said Hosey has yet to contact her for assistance in creating the group.
“I would love to hear from him. The more crime watches the better,” Raup said.
She too recalled the earlier group of city residents that patrolled the park.
The new group would have a different make up and mission.
“We're going to be a little bit unique,” Hosey told council a week ago. The crime watch groups cover sections of the city and their members come from those neighborhoods.
“We're going to be different, where our group is going to be from Nanticoke to West Pittston” and made up of people “who love the park and come there frequently.”
Hosey had been before council in May, alerting them to what he said was heroin dealing by homeless people living in campsites in the Kirby Park Natural Area, the wooded section on the river side of the levee. The city notified homeless people to move from their campsites and has stepped up patrols, assigning an officer on a motorcycle to the area.
The alleged sexual assault occurred near the Market Street Bridge at approximately 4:50 p.m. Police said the girl told them a man pulled her into into the woods.
Police described the unknown suspect as: white, tall and skinny, clean shaven with dirty blond hair and missing several teeth. He has a scar that runs from below his right ear to his right shoulder. He was wearing blue jean shorts and white tank top. He was carrying a pink bag and riding a red BMX-style bike.
Hosey said the new crime watch would patrol and maintain the park.
“If we have all the people out at that riverfront we don't have to be concerned about incidents so much. We have to be concerned about maintaining it, so it doesn't go back to the way it used to be,” he said.
The Pennsylvania National Guard is interested in offering space in the armory near Kirby Park for the group to hold meetings, Hosey said.

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