Grimberg has joined the Gulfport Police Department as a part-time employee and holds the title of volunteer coordinator. He was introduced during the most recent Crime Watch meeting on February 3 at the Gulfport Neighborhood Center.
Grimberg will be busy implementing the Gulfport Crime Watch, an official Neighborhood Crime Watch program, and will act as a “liaison between the police officers and community.”
“Neighborhood watch really does work,” said Grimberg, who comes to Gulfport after recently retiring from 30 years with the St. Petersburg Police Department. Grimberg is a former community police officer and will also be in charge of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
The current Gulfport crime watch group is not officially sanctioned by the Gulfport Police Department and is described as a “loosely knit group of concerned citizens” by crime watch leader, Al Santos. Grimberg aims to change that.
According to Grimberg, he would like to see several small neighborhood watch groups that would make up the larger network of the Gulfport Police Neighborhood Watch, similar to St. Petersburg’s model.
“St. Petersburg has small census neighborhoods,” Grimberg said. “And each has their own neighborhood watch. That’s the biggest difference between what I see in St. Pete versus Gulfport.”
Gulfport Police Lieutenant J.D. Stone also spoke during the meeting and gave a rundown of crime statistics that were recently released in the latest State of the Agency report.
“We had 20 violent crimes committed [in 2015],” Stone said. “That is down from 40 from last year.”
Stone also reported that 419 non-violent crimes were committed last year – a 20-year low.
However, Stone said, “County-wide, crime is still an issue.” He was unable to give an exact reason for why crime in Gulfport had decreased to such a degree.
“We have many theories,” Stone said. “My favorite is criminals have aged out of their criminal ways, but I can’t prove it.”
Stone also explained that the new Gulfport Police Crime Watch will include training from the department, but there will be rules to follow.
“There will be a list of dos and don’ts,” Stone said. “You will sign a waiver and if you brake the rules, you will no longer be associated with the program.”
The police-implemented crime watch program is scheduled to be fully functional by the summer.