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m265.jpg (15825 bytes)Mobile Workers Could Fight Crime
by Matthew Mosk

A plan to enlist local companies in the fight against crime by asking workers on the road to report crimes in progress earned the tentative support of the Thousand Oaks City Council.

Council members said Tuesday they would approve the $3,000 in funding needed to start the program after the Sheriff's Department reviews the plan and the city attorney resolved questions about liability.

"I think there's no doubt the council supports this program in concept," said Councilwoman Judy Lazar.  "Perhaps we can have the Police Department look into this a little further to see if similar programs run in other cities have had any problems."  Lazar said Tuesday night that she hoped the council would revisit the issue in two weeks.

Those speaking in favor of the program, which will ask mobile workers such as messengers and delivery people to use their cellular phones to report suspicious activity, hailed the idea as an innovative means of preventing crime.

"This will be quite a deterrent," said Lance Winslow, a local businessman who brought the idea before the council last month.   "All of a sudden, if you're a criminal you're not only looking around for a black-and-white with a light bar on top, you're looking out for the ice cream man."   Winslow said the idea was akin to putting new police out on the street  - for a fraction of the cost.

That's fine, said Councilman Alex Fiore, as long as people are not encouraged to be vigilantes.

"I'm all for additional programs to deter crime," Fiore said. "But I think I'd like to see some additional input before we move any further with this."

Reprinted from Los Angeles Times June 9, 1994.

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