The Veenstra Team of Evenboer-Walton REALTORS has been helping people navigate Kalamazoo real estate since 1986. What may not be as well knows is that the Veenstra Team has also been serving the community with neighborhood newsletters (Kzoo Neighbor) since 1986 as well! In 2007 the Veenstra Team responded to a community need in a new way by creating an email neighborhood crime alert system. For a short while, there were several crimes being committed in the Westwood community. The police were not able to catch the perpetrators, though they suspected that it was a small group of juveniles doing the crimes. The community organized and held some community meetings and the Veenstra Team offered our technology to create a neighborhood crime alert system. We currently have hundreds of Westwood residents that are signed up for the crime alerts and we have the full support of the KalamazooTownship police as well as the Kalamazoo Dept of Public Safety. In fact, the crime alerts actually helped the police solve a crime! See the article below.
Here is how the crime alert works.
The Veenstra Team receives notices from neighbors or the police by email and we send the notice out to the rest of the people on the email list. When a neighbor sends in information, the Veenstra Team usually connects with the police to get any additional information before the email goes out to the people who have signed up. The email addresses are never used for anything besides the alert for which the person signed up and the recipient of the email cannot see the other email addresses on the list. It is as simple as that…….simply effective!
The Veenstra Team is ready and willing to use the system, (and the accompanying neighborhood happening alert system) for other communities in the greater Kalamazoo
Keep reading for the REST OF THE STORY…..the account of the capture of the criminals!
Editor’s note: This is a reprint of the crime alert that was sent out Feb 14, 2008. It shows how important our vigilance is! Detective Larry Haynor with the Township Police requested the following crime alert be sent.
“THANK YOU NEIGHBORS!! As a direct result of a tip received from a reader of the kzooneighbor.com e-mail alert we have some good news to report about the investigations related to the west side home invasions.
An alert reader recognized the description of the “tricked out Cadillac” from one of our previous e-mails and then contacted Detective Haynor with a location of where that car might be parked. While attempting to locate the Cadillac Detective Haynor located two juveniles walking in the area and they were identified. Two hours after contact with Township Officers, these juveniles broke in to a residence in the 700 block of Fletcher. Following a lengthy investigation that included admissions to Detective Szekely and the assistance of another observant witness, the juveniles were positively identified as the perpetrators. This case has been sent to the Kalamazoo County Prosecutors Office-Juvenile Division and they have issued charges of 2nd degree Home Invasion on both juveniles.
The Township of Kalamazoo Police Department Criminal Investigation Unit has also identified two suspects from a home invasion that occurred in the 1900 block of Nichols Rd., and have obtained a confession from one of the defendants. This case has been sent to the Prosecutors Office for review and we anticipate charges being authorized on one juvenile and one adult suspect stemming from that home invasion.
As a direct result of these investigations the Criminal Investigation Unit has developed new leads regarding a shooting incident and another larceny. The investigation into these leads continues.
We remain in constant contact with Detectives from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and have recently received information about three and possibly four additional suspects who are reported to be involved in Westwood neighborhood break-ins.
Residents are reminded to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity or people in your neighborhood, and are asked to contact your local police agency with any information. We will continue to use the crime alert system to get information to the community!”
To pass along a crime alert to your fellow neighbors, you can use this form or call us at 269-350-5514.