The Neighborhood Watch program meeting, headed by Councilmen Michael Yakubov and Laurence Dinardo took place at Borough Hall at 7:00 p.m.

Councilman Michael Yakubov wanted to focus on child safety, Megan’s Law, and Halloween safety tips. Councilman Yakubov wanted to have the Neighborhood Watch be the eyes and ears of the community and to make the seniors of the borough have a sense of security.

Councilman Laurence Dinardo wanted to talk about block captains and the idea of safe houses. A borough ‘safe house’ would be a residence where a child could go to in the event an incident arose where they would need assistance. A participating household would have to go through a background check performed by the police department.

There was discussion of some break-in and a few attempted break-ins on Bender Avenue. Councilman Dinardo read from the Halloween Safety sheet. Residents gave recommendations regarding Halloween safety including:

  • A Halloween curfew to discourage loitering and possible incidents from older kids hanging out during Halloween. It would also let residents and children know the hours of trick or treating.
  • A trick-or-treat neighborhood friendly map that would notify residence of blocks that would participate in giving out candy.
  • A police presence, most likely one officer, on Bender Avenue and the surrounding area.

A resident wanted to notify parents and children to be careful of some candy since he had read a news report that lead was found in candy made in China.

Mention was made of Halloween activities at the Boys & Girl Club Youth center on Wednesday, October 31st.

Councilman Dinardo read from the Roselle Park Police Department Halloween Safety Tips handout.

Councilman Yakubov spoke of Megan’s Law. He gave a brief history of the law and spoke of the Jacob Wetterling Act. He stated there have been incidents in Union County concerning sexual predators. The law states that Tier 2 and 3 sexual offenders cannot live within 1,500 feet of certain places which include schools, parks, and other areas frequented by children. Tier 3 sexual offenders determined to pose a relatively high risk of re-offense. Tier 2 sexual offenders are those found to pose a moderate risk of re-offense. Tier 1 offenders are determined to present a low risk of re-offense. Roselle Park has four or five Tier 2 and 3 sexual offenders living in the borough. Councilman Dinardo gave an example of web sites that list sexual offenders in New Jersey (Link). Councilman Yakubov recounted a story of a resident who called him when she had seen a person in a truck trying to pick up kids. He would prefer that residents call the police when such an incident occurs.

Councilman Yakubov stated that the borough needs to increase lighting throughout the town. He gave examples of the light outside Borough Hall and Valley Road.

A resident asked why police do not notify residents when there are a number of houses that have been broken into in a certain neighborhood to make residents aware.

Councilman Dinardo stated that there is no soliciting allowed in town and a resident should call the police if someone comes to their door soliciting for business. Another resident stated that suspicious activity does not necessarily come in the form of a solicitation. He had anincident where a young man came to his door and stated that his company was doing work in the area and simply handed him a card. Technically, that is not solicitation but the person could be going from house to house to see which residents are not home or to see which houses have dogs or security systems.

A resident spoke of illegal activity in their neighborhood. The resident stated that the police have flagged their house as a constant complainer and do not respond to calls made tot he Police Department about illegal drug activity that is occurring on their block. The councilmen asked to have that information passed on to them so they could notify the police of the reports. Additionally, the resident could notify either the Union County Prosecutor’s Office or the Union County Drug Task Force. the councilmen stated that the resident should be aware that the Roselle Park Police Department might already be aware of the illegal drug activity and have the house and/or people under surveillance.

Another resident stated that behind Cubex Ice there is activity of drug use and when police respond, they simply chase the people away instead of frisking them or inspecting their vehicles. In place of trying to stop crime the resident feels that the police are simply pushing the activity from the area of complaint. Councilman Yakubov stated that acting Police Chief Morrison is open to input from residents and that residents should feel free to contact him via phone or e-mail.

Councilman Yakubov addressed a business owner, who was a member of the audience, about the impact of robberies on establishments throughout town.

In relation to solicitiation, a resident asked about the group that asks for donations at the entrance and exit of the Garden State Parkway. She was notified that the Parkway is in Cranford and not Roselle Park. Councilman Yakubov told the resident she could ask for ID from the organization to confirm the sponsoring charity.

A resident asked if more lighting could be placed in the Green Acres area behind the high school. Last week there was an incident of vandalism where the Roselle Park High School lit sign board was broken and garbage cans surrounding the high school was vandalized.

The councilmen apologized for the absence of police at the meeting but officer Pete Picarelli is recovering from major surgery and there was an accident on Westfield Avenue right before the meeting which most likely needed police attention. A representative of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office was supposed to attend the meeting but Councilman Yakubov will follow up to find out what happened with regard to that arrangement.

A resident asked if the sign-in sheet was for block captains. The councilmen stated it was simply a sign-in sheet but anyone interested in becoming a block captain could place a star next to their name.

For the next meeting, the councilmen stated they will further discuss the idea of ‘safe houses’, the replacement and purchase of Neighborhood Watch signs, and any other developing concerns that residents might have.

Councilman Yakubov closed the meeting by stating he had some “Keep Children Alive – Drive 25” signs if anyone wanted some., they should contact him.