Hellertown's Block Watch group has a new leader.
Borough police officer Timothy Piotrowski introduced himself to about 10 attendees--including --at the group's first meeting of 2012, which was held Feb. 22 at .
Piotrowski began the meeting with a presentation that highlighted some of .
He also discussed his professional background, which began in 1984 when he was hired as a full-time Hellertown police officer.
Piotrowski explained that after four years he left the department to pursue other endeavors, returning in 2007 as a part-time officer.
He returned to full-time status with the department with a promotion in 2011, he said.
"The borough's definitely changed since 1984," Piotrowski noted. "It's a totally different town than it used to be."
He later pointed out that there is a greater degree of transience today, and he said the majority of the people he arrests are from outside the immediate area.
"I'd say 90 percent of the people that I end up arresting end up being from out of town," he said.
Piotrowski emphasized the fact that with block watch, the police department hopes to improve the lines of communication with residents by offering them new avenues for reporting suspicious activity they might observe.
He said that in the coming months, he will be providing an email address that will be available for residents who want to report suspicious activity electronically.
"Lines of communication are very important in deterring crime," Piotrowski said.
He also discussed a plan to divide the borough into eight block watch zones, and told attendees that volunteers willing to serve as block watch captains will be sought.
Poplar Road resident Eugene Brett told Piotrowski that he would be interested in serving as a block watch captain for his neighborhood, which would include much of Mountainview, according to the map distributed at the meeting.
Brett's wife, Barbara, complimented Piotrowski for being well-prepared for the meeting, but lamented the modest turnout, and suggested additional advertising for future bi-monthly meetings.
Eugene Brett agreed with that suggestion, and volunteered to pin a flyer to the bulletin board at in Lower Saucon Township.
"A couple of years back it was crowded in here all the time," he said of block watch.
"And we can get it back to that point," Piotrowski responded.
He noted that flyers advertising the February meeting were posted in stores throughout the borough, and added that the meeting was also advertised via the Hellertown Patch events calendar.
"This is going to be a slow process. It's not going to be perfect," Piotrowski said of his plan to make block watch a more active and influential group.
He said the next Hellertown Block Watch meeting will be held Wednesday, April 25 at 7pm at Borough Hall, and he added that, if more people get involved, it's possible that meetings could be held on a monthly basis in the future.