A handful of Lakeland Village residents turned out at Lakeland Village School Tuesday night to hear the chief of police talk about what’s being done to keep their neighborhood safe.
who also serves as chief for both the Lake Elsinore and Wildomar police departments, offered an opportunity for residents to get the neighborhood’s recent crime figures, meet other high-ranking sheriff’s department officials, ask questions about policing practices and express concerns.
As the captain put it, the event, which was also aimed at neighborhoods in the surrounding Santa Rosa Plateau communities, was designed to “break down barriers and open lines of communication.”
Long-time Lakeland Village resident Barbara Dye was in attendance Tuesday and said her neighborhood has seen vast improvement over the 18 years she has been living there, and she thanked the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for its efforts to work with the community to reduce crime.
Dye, who is president of the Lakeland Village Neighborhood Association, said she has “seen a lot” over the last two decades. She moved to the area as a single mom and said the meth labs and street thugs that once infiltrated her neighborhood have largely disappeared, but it took community involvement.
“When I moved in, I thought, ‘what have I done?’”
Dye said she and other residents gathered and began a concerted effort all those years ago to rid the neighborhood of crime by working directly with police.
“That’s exactly the kind of thing we want to see,” Captain Fontneau said, explaining that his department is dedicated to helping communities form neighborhood watch programs. “Residents become our eyes and ears. We could not do our jobs without you working with us.”
The captain concedes that crime still exists in Lakeland Village.
In 2011, larceny/theft and burglaries were up over the previous years in Lakeland Village, but rates on other serious crimes dropped, the captain said.
Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale attended Tuesday night’s town hall. He said he address issues in Lakeland Village.
“As Lakeland Village goes, so goes Lake Elsinore,” said Tisdale, who resides next door to Lakeland Village. “I live in this community too. We can do a whole lot better.”
Concerns voiced by citizens in attendance Tuesday night included worries over how school children will get to campus safely now that the
Captain Fontneau acknowledged the concern and said his department is doing what it can with limited resources, but he recommended that residents also reach out to the California Highway Patrol, the agency that has jurisdiction over traffic in the unincorporated area.
Currently, leaders from across the county, the city of Lake Elsinore, and the LEUSD are working to ensure kids get to school safely next year, despite the bus cuts. for more on that story.
For more information on how to form a neighborhood watch program in your community, contact Captain Dave Fontneau at 951-245-3333. If you live in Wildomar, contact Lt. Dan Anne at 951-245-3329.
For more information on the Lakeland Village Neighborhood Association, contact Barbara Dye at 951-678-0256.