Springfield residents join forces to fight crime - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Springfield residents join forces to fight crime

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It's a slogan in storefront windows all around Springfield. T-shirts have been printed and bracelets have been made. The message is straightforward: "Not in our town."

"As a community we have to respond and we have to be that change we want to make. We can't continually expect people to take care of us," said Wendi Germain of the Springfield Justice Center.

The community initiative started in response to a huge drug sweep in Springfield earlier this summer. According to law enforcement, an epidemic plagues this town. But citizens are standing up and saying they won't tolerate it. From community watches and telephone chains, to door-to-door house calls looking for volunteers, Germain is helping to organize it.

"We are not only going to the nice houses on the street, we are going to every single house on the street," she said.

They are asking residents for two hours a week to volunteer however they can, something as simple as planting flowers. There are positive signs-- the Odd Fellows building on Main Street has a new coat of paint, which local officials say, represents the future.

"Much of what we are doing is very positive and 'Not in our Town' represents an opportunity to tell ourselves, to tell our children how we feel about drugs and crime in our community," said Carol Lighthall of Springfield on the Move.

But recent drugs sweeps are evidence the problem persists and is likely not going away any time soon.

"The drug task force has been working on that for six to eight months, so it does take a while to get results. So, be patient because the result will come eventually," Springfield Police Chief Doug Johnston said.

But in the meantime, resident are sending a message of their own. And they are putting it out there for all to see.

"If you care about where you live, you are so much less likely to hurt the place you live," Germain said.

Hundreds turned out for a community forum on the initiative and another is being planned for this month. The premise is simple-- community members defining what will and will not be accepted in their town.

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