Clipped From The Lowell Sun
C2 THE SUNDAY Arthur Poitras crimefighter for Florida's other retirees By FRANCES BERG Sun Staff LOWELL - At first glance, une might mil lake wild mannered mannered J. Arthur Poitras, - Sr., 65, for ii crimp fighter especially especially on a Statewide level but he is Poitras head uf his family's orthopedic footwear firm of the same name on Central Street, Iminrhed in 189K and now run by son J. Arthur Poilrjis, Jr., says he "retired" four years ago to Daytuna Beach. Fla. When Florida.1. Governor lieuoin Askew subsequently sponsored a statewide "Help Stop Crime! " effort directed by Don Thieme in the Office of Attorney General Hubert A, Sheviri Poitras became active with Its local level Day to n a B each A re n "Citizen s Alert CouncLJ, " which has since grown to some 5000 members strung. POITRAS1 success as a promoter of the CAC and as chair ma ji of its modular homes committee, did not go unnoticed. This summer. Poitras became one of only L5 men in Florida appointed to a new Ad Hoc Committee for Crimes . Against the Elderly, which held its initial meeting in miii - Augusl in Florida's capital, TallaJiassee. Visiting Lowell this past week during a "vacation' from his burdgeuning retirement retirement activities. Poitras was looking forward to n mid - Ortrjher seminar plnnned hy the Ad Hoc Committee which will involve hundreds of Florida's police officials ond develup a 'bible" for operations. operations. Poitras. whose "vacation" included several days pitching in with the family business, brought a similar "bible" when he dropped in to greet friends at The Sun. "It's almost impossible lo get one of these," said Poitras, as he pointed out highlights ol a veritable encyclopedia encyclopedia of statistics, observations about victims plus crime fighting infnmia lion for llie general citizenry contained in a Florida "Help Stup Ciime' report entitled, "The Venerable and Vulnerable - A Look ot Crime Against the Elderly." prepared by research assistant assistant Peter M. UiLIon ol Florida's Office of the Attorney Attorney General. Published in July, the report proved the impetus for Ihe energetically budding Ad Hoc Committee now claiming Foifras' efforts. "THINGS LIKE this are springing up all over the country," said Poitras, who noted thai Florida's pilot ef - furts have received plaudits frnm even New York City's law enforcement officials, ond a "larflu organisation" there, he said, is developing similiux programs. Typical uf Florida's "Citizens Alert Coaneil" ventures, ventures, for instance, is the Neighborhood Watch"" pi ugram. Entire neighborhoods especially senior citizens are encouraged encouraged to become, the "eyes and ears'" of their community police, alerling them to sLranyers aftHit, parting lot lurkcrs, nny suspicious action action Neighbors notiry each other when they're going to be a way from their homes, And it works. Poitras says. We live in a paradise now." he said of his own neighborhood. "We're in an area where many Jive alone about 600 homes and only 000 people and we were having about 10 or 12 crimes a month. Put now, crime is virtually iion - existanll 1 POITRAS, queried about hnw Hrealer I.nwelliaii? seniors al Lowell's Bishop Markham housing project, lor instance might launch similarly effective programs, nodded quite affirmatively "They could do it," he said, ii.Ump that Lowell already has an organization similar to the CAC SUN, LOWELL, MASS., J. ARTHUR ...unlikely Poitras was referring to COAP the Citizens' Organizational Alert Plan headed by Capt. Thomas Kelleher and Ulficer Koger Diwionl of the lowcll Police Department s Community Relations. According to Capt. K.elJeher. COAPneighborhuud leaders each surveying a one - block area in Lowell's Paw - lucketviHe. for instance, have succeeded in reducing a high rale of vandalism, breaking and entering, to an "almost negligible" level. Word of their success has already hroughl ujuerius from police in both Lawrence and Dracut. Capt. Kelleher said, and films are being shown in both communities communities in hope of launching similai citizen participation. IN LOWELL, COAP group - efforts have thus far been concentrated in the Sacred Heart and Pawtucketville areas, said (,'apl. Kelleher. who will welcome interest citizen in other areas. "A eommilter should be formed under COAP's leaders lo gel a group Lo meeL in Bishop Markham to educate people there as to what do do." siri! Poitras, who said citizens together in just such neighborhoods in Florida have proved successful. For areas having no such organization yet, Poitras described how it's done in Florida. "We go into a cu mm unity with a new 'bible' and take an auditorium. We have entertainment entertainment and films and even retreshments - just to gel the elderly lutfelher. "You get a committer head like inyseir," Poitras gol down to the the fine details. "Von bring in the chief ol police, a banker, n social worker, a doctor to talk to them. ' FLORIDA'S now nicknamed 'Kelp fui the Elderly" effort proves many - faceted "We tell them about thing? like getting dead - bull locks - once you've locked it hum the inside, nn one can open it," he said. "And. oo two keys are alike. There are no 'master' keys. We tell hem that nothing is so unsafe as a home safe. Lhat gelling a .safe deposit hnx is an Investment, nol an expense. "1 was instrumental in instituting instituting a new banking prugram in which all monies the elderly receive ore deposited di rectly inlo the bank with the result lhat (hey do not handle any rouney, except through checking accounts. accounts. "And we're hoping," he added, added, lo "to start a new system like travelers' checks with dual signatures." Poitras stresses that Ihose of venerable age arc vulnerable chieNy because Lhey are nuL educated. Florida CAC groups probe the fine points of "hunko" schemes, warn against npen - OCT. 9, 1977 POiTRAS SR. crimefighter ing one's door lo alleged police, iiivcstigatni - s. inspectors inspectors without demanding and checking their iden - tiflcaLion. They probe tiie varieties uf medical frauds to which (he elderly are especially especially susceplihlr They warn against obstructing the flight ol purac - snatch era and burglars, since the majority, being aiii - professiuiials, are likely lo panic and become dangerous FLORIDA'S elderly are being being encouraged to become acquainted acquainted with til eh iieiylibuij.. develop mulual assistance, write down license numbers .Hid descriptions uf strange vehicles i especially vans into which anyone's properly is being carried or "work'" vans which: drive into anyone's garagcl and lo call in their sospirinns lo the police "If li s a crime only in one case out of 11," Poitras sires - .itd. "it worth the 10 Kills. The police are on duly all Ihc lime, anyway," he salt! " And it helps lhey catch people." Florida s involvement of citizens in police crime fighting tffurts began in the then high - crime capital of Tallahassee, Poitras said, anil with success spread rapidly across the Slate. "Fifty per cent of all crimes were never reported!" Pnltras cited as onp reason crime there nrtd elsewhere across the nation was allowed to reach such proportions. Florida's ' Help to the F.lderly" efrnrl, said Poitras, 1? "a first in the nation." Media cooperation, meetings, films like "senior power ' Our Old Fashioned Carpet Sales T At Old Fashioned Prices!! mR $ a tmtmm I iW' Vffi I Sh U,Mt l'MtaI'S.51 hS ii:, ShoriShss Short Stieg Soulpturad Shtj 111 Nylon IMS Nylm 10W Nylon I 7.88 a s8.88 . 58,99 ft I 11 1 1 WE HAVE A COMPLETE LINE OF ARMSTRONG FLOOR COVEfilNSS - SOLARIAH - SUNDIAL, ETC. "CO,f:;V ,INI I 7.S7T OUR SHOWROOM" ! FREE ESTIMATES VKA ! NO 08LI0ATI0N 3S vISfi 1 BRIDGES CARPET SALES ! ! HI SCHOOL ST., LOWELL, 454 - 8159, Frio Puklnj I Crwlll P dm Our crsdfl plar. ii. t.isy lo live with. We olfer si? I I quallfisd cuslamurs Nn Mono Down, 36 mo. to pay. Also Initanl I have all been insirumenl.il m Its success, ht' said. As a member ul ihc lo member Ad Hoc CoiumiUec for Crime Against Kie Elderly", Elderly", Poilias is " the man " heading its operntmn in his own Volusia County plus neighboring Jirovard County in east cenlral Humid. Voting Lowell's downluwo elderly housing eonslruciion in view irom his Central .Street firm, J'oitins, wJio has worked with Ihe elderly needing orthopedic assistance all Inn life, had a Ihouglil for more than their safely. "Two hundred and Nfly apartments. " he mused. "They mustn't just slay at home and watch television," he saw. "They must get out and do things." Pin Iras, noting that lear is a major ileni keeping the elderly elderly at home, beJieves the elderly elderly tliemseJvL's must make an effort lo combat it. "They mtisi ooi stay in," Poiiras.said earnestly. "They must become involved to defeat lear and Jiiiiciint - i Poitras i.i himself involved with more than Florida's many - faceLed "Help Stop 'rime!' campaign. "WITH approximately 250 others, 1 was commissioned by Florida's Bishop Tom Grady Iwo years ago as an 'EAlli' an "exlraordinary minister of tliueucharist. We go around administering Holy Communion in convalescent homes, bus pi la Is , and churches, "1 was a lector last Saturday Saturday at the 4 p. m mass at the Immaculate Conception Church," he added wilh a look nf nostalgia Among topics was bather William Lynch, formerly oi Ihe Immaculate, now located jl Florida's Via A Palm Beach me? so ma nv a hi friends." said Poitras. who today ends Ins "vacation" from hi.s "retirement'' and heads back h Daytona Beach and pieparaiioo foi that stalfwide seminar in St Petersburg only days away.