When you think of Nappanee, you probably think of Amish acres and the Apple Festival.
Chances are you don't think about crime.
But some folks who live in this small city in southern Elkhart County want fellow residents to think hard about crime.
And they're inviting them to a get together early next month to get them involved.
Bud Schmucker and his wife, Eleanor, have lived in the Nappanee area their whole lives.
About 16 years ago, Schmucker was one of the founding members of the Nappanee Neighborhood Watch.
Like many people who get involved in neighborhood watch, Bud was personally touched by crime.
“We were broken into at one time a few years before that and it come up and I heard about it and went up and joined,” he said. “I was there at the first meeting and stayed with it ever since.”
Nappanee isn't exactly a hot bed for crime.
But Eleanor hates to think of what it might be like without the neighborhood watch.
She said she can’t imagine Nappanee without it.
“But just like the sign up here,” she said. “If somebody comes to the door, they don't know us, we don't know them but if they see that, they don't stay very long.”
Schmucker says Nappanee has different types of crime than bigger cities.
And so, one of the main focuses of the Nappanee watch group has been the elderly.
The elderly mostly for scams.
“I mean that's their big problem some of the meetings we've had,” said Schmucker. “People have spoken up about things that have happened to them, and others that are there are listening and pay attention to it. And you go the retirement communities and make these presentations? Right, we have several of them here in town that we go to and they like for us to come.”
Unfortunately, there are just a little more than a dozen neighborhood watch members in this city of nearly 7,000 people.
That's why they're trying to get the word out about Nappanee's city-wide night out against crime, Tuesday, September 4th at West Side Park to celebrate the police-community partnership.
“We got the fire department, we got a list of people that's going to come, booths and like triad which helps the elderly people.”
“We have music and free food, every body comes for that too. And you're hoping to build on what you have because your membership is not quite where you'd like it to be? We had good memberships and 25-30 people and they come regularly for awhile, and things aren't happening so they're just not coming to the meetings like they used to and we'd like to have more people join.”
Residents are invited to Nappanee’s Night Out and asked to bring at least one non-perishable food item for Nappanee-area food banks.
Official Event Information:
Nappanee night out against crime
Nappanee neighborhood watch
When: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm
Where: West Side Park, 500 n. Nappanee St.
Why: To celebrate the police and community
partnership in Nappanee
Join us for an evening of fun, community fellowship and free food. Hot dogs, drinks, chips, cookies will be provided.
Music, and games for the kids. The police dog, fire trucks and other city department there.
Please join us and fellowship with community and police.
Also please bring at least one (1) item of non-perishable food to be divided between local food banks FCDC and open door.