Friday, January 09, 2009


Like many Elyria residents, community organizer Brandon Rutherford was troubled when he found out the city’s police department could possibly be losing Police Officers due to budget cuts. He was concerned about crime in his neighborhood, and decided to take action to help Elyria residents learn how to better protect themselves and their property.

“I don’t think it’s right to just complain about a problem you might be having in your neighborhood,” Rutherford said. “I believe a few concerned citizens can make a real difference, and a little hard work can have a strong impact in the community.”

Rutherford began contacting local home security experts, self-defense trainers and other knowledgeable experts, and organized a free educational event called “Take Back Elyria” that will take place this Sunday at the Elyria West Recreational Park from 1 to 3 p.m.

“Take Back Elyria” will offer residents training on protecting themselves, their family, their property and their heath. Local businesses and organizations that will be on hand to educate the public include A.J. Perry Martial Arts, Forthofer Security, the Red Cross, and representatives from the Elyria Police Department.

Rutherford said that “Take Back Elyria” has a simple theme: that knowing how to prevent crime is the best way to fight it.

“The event is going to be geared toward women, children, and the elderly, but everyone will be able to learn important information about protecting themselves and their families,” Rutherford said. “Residents will be able to learn how to start their own block watch programs, burglar-proof their homes, and even about the child ID program.”

Admission to the event is free, but Rutherford encourages all attendees to bring a can of food to be donated for the Salvation Army.

Rutherford said he is excited about how much attention “Take Back Elyria” has gotten from local media and even from Elyria City Council, which recently asked him to make a presentation about the event at one of their meetings.

“Our city government and police department does an outstanding job in protecting our citizens, but we need to be diligent about protecting ourselves and our property,” Rutherford said. “We the citizens of Elyria need to grow some teeth, and I hope that ‘Take Back Elyria’ can help them do that.”

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