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Neighborhood Watch program to hold anti-crime poster contest

By Staff | Aug 1, 2009

Eleven-year-old Tim Serrano uses his art to express himself.
For instance: Last year, Tim expressed why he thinks drugs are harmful during the Neighborhood Watch of Cape Coral’s “Give Crime a Going Away Party” poster contest.
“I drew all these different drugs, and all this different stuff that’s bad,” Tim said of his contest entry, for which he won third place in his age group. “They were walking down the street into a black hole. It said dead end.”
The local Neighborhood Watch group will hold another poster contest this year, called “Team Up–Strike Out Crime and Drugs.” The contest is for children and young adults from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Submissions are being accepted at the Cape Coral Art Studio at 4522 Coronado Parkway; the Cape Coral Police Station at 815 Nicholas Parkway; the Cape Coral Public Library at 921 S.W. 39th Terrace; and FOS Furniture at 790 Del Prado Boulevard. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 11.
Tim said he’s considering entering the contest again this year.
“I think that all neighborhoods should get rid of all drugs, but not just neighborhoods, every place should get rid of drugs,” he said. “It hurts people and if they have kids, it will get them addicted to it.”
Drawing is a way for the Trafalgar Middle School 6th-grader to express his feelings.
“If you feel down or something you can draw your feelings, because it’s a world of imagination when you pick up that pencil and start drawing,” he said.
Tim also used his award-winning drawing last year to set an example for his 7-year-old sister, Megan.
“I thought it would teach her to be better and not do this kind of thing,” Tim said. “I tried to make a good example of Cape Coral.”
Tim’s mother, Eileen Serrano, encouraged her children to enter the contest in 2008 and keeps an open line of communication in her household.
“We keep them very aware of what’s going on,” Serrano said. “They really like doing it because it really helps them to be aware of their community and trying to keep the crime and drugs and things out of our community.”
Serrano said she supports Neighborhood Watch’s efforts and understands the importance of residents to keep their community safe.
“I think the parents play a big role in what goes on in our community,” she said. “We have to all look out for each other.”
Last year, between 60 and 70 youths entered the contest, and more are expected to enter this year, according to Neighborhood Watch of Cape Coral President Pat Foote.
“It was a great success last year,” Foote said. “It was amazing to see the work that was done.”
Foote said the contest brought families together and highlighted the talents and knowledge of young people in Cape Coral.
“It surprised us on what a young age the kids know about drugs. You get your kids involved and they know what’s going on,” she said.
Contest entrants may use watercolor, crayons, pencils, markers, paints or other mediums on 8-inch by 11-inch medium to heavy-weight paper. A name, age or grade level and phone number should be included on the back of each poster.
The contest will be judged by a group of local artists, professionals and police officials.
First, second and third place winners will be recognized at a Sept. 29 ceremony. Their work will be displayed Oct. 3 at the “Celebrate Safe Communities” event between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the parking lot of Belks Department Store, 2342 Surfside Blvd.
Foote said the Neighborhood Watch program currently maintains more than 200 watches around the city, and has increased in numbers recently due to burglaries in north Cape Coral.
To learn more about Neighborhood Watch, residents can call 573-3048.
The Cape Coral Police Department will also perform a free safety inspection of residents’ homes upon request, offering invaluable security tips, Foote said.
The Cape Coral Police Department’s non-emergency number is 574-3223.