LIVERMORE – Identity theft and how to prevent it were the focus of the Wednesday night meeting of the Livermore chapter of Crime Watch.

Maine State Trooper Michael Chavez discussed the ways to protect your identity:

• send for your free credit report once a year;

• destroy credit card applications when they come in the mail;

• keep important documents locked up as they may contain personal information such as Social Security numbers, date of birth, etc.

“If you become a victim, report it immediately,” Chavez said. “The theft can go on for a year-and-a-half before its even discovered, and then it can take another year-and-a-half to get it straightened out,” he added.

In the future, the Crime Watch group is planning a “vial of life” project. This, according to Crime Watch member Sandi Grondin, is where community members are encouraged to put an empty prescription bottle on their refrigerator, and place in it important information such as prescription medications the resident is taking, and who to contact in case of an emergency. The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts will be assisting the Crime Watch members on this project.

The Livermore chapter of Crime Watch was formed about 14 years ago, according to Sandi and her husband, Rene, who help coordinate the group. Troopers Frank Holcomb and Chris Cyr, who once lived in Livermore, were members of the group during those first few years. They have since either retired, or have been promoted. Chavez meets with the group once a month at the Livermore Town Office, and has been for eight years.

According to the Grondins, the group has had speakers from forensic scientists, to judges, probation officers, undercover policemen, and a U.S. Marshal to name a few. Police dogs have made appearances, along with the State Police Mobile Crime Lab. The issues discussed change from month to month.

“Attendance at the meetings ebbs and flows. We can have a full house one night, and three or four people at the next meeting,” Sandi Grondin said.

“I know we are having an impact on the community because when people have issues, they show up at the meetings to communicate with law enforcement,” she said. A lot of the members are older, retired citizens who sometimes feel the most vulnerable. “They feel connected to the state trooper through the meetings.”

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