DOWNEY – Thousands of Downey residents are doing what they can to help curb crime and keep their community safe by participating in a Facebook-organized crime watch.
The original Crime Watch of Downey Facebook page was created in July of 2014 by Kandy Grzebyk.
“The reason I started the page was so that people could keep their loved ones and their property safe,” said Grzebyk. “When you hear sirens you want to know if you should be concerned. I want to know if a helicopter is flying low if we should go inside and lock the doors. Other people wanted to know as well and that’s what the page was created for.”
Since its beginnings the page has grown significantly, now boasting more than 6,500 community members. A small handful of admins maintain the page, monitoring for profanity, solicitations, duplicate posts and arguments.
Grzebyk and the other admins also take great care to not interfere with Downey Police Department business and do not tolerate anyone “slamming” officials.
“Crime has a way of making some very passionate and opinionated and some threads heat up quickly,” said Grzebyk, who added that nearly 800 people have been blocked for inappropriate behavior.
According to Grzebyk, she has had mixed feedback concerning the Crime Watch page.
“Some people will message me and tell me I am irresponsible for letting people post coyotes on the page and that it’s causing mass hysteria,” she said. “Others will message me thanking us for our work and because of our post they knew what to expect.”
Another crime watch page, this one an “anything goes” edition, was started by Ray Metzger, who is also an admin on the original page.
“I got involved because of drugs, lewd acts, theft, and graffiti being perpetrated in my own neighborhood,” said Metzger. “My catalytic converter was stolen from my truck three times. So I decided to help fight crime any way I could.”
Metzger’s page has gathered more than 1,300 members, and rules are more relaxed.
For more information on either crime watch page or to join, search for "Crime Watch of Downey, CA" or "Downey Crime Watch Anything Goes Edition" on Facebook.
Anyone who falls victim to or witnesses a crime is still encouraged to contact local authorities first.