By Brad Segall
WYNNEWOOD, Pa. (CBS) — What effect, if any, will the George Zimmerman case in Florida have on the future of town watch organizations elsewhere around the country?
Based in Wynnewood (Montgomery County), Pa., the National Association of Town Watch has been around for more than thirty years, providing support for thousands of town watch members across the country.
Executive director Matt Peskin believes that in the long run, people who care about their communities are still going to get involved in watch groups — despite what happened in Florida.
“I don’t think it sheds the best light on watch programs, particularly for people who don’t totally understand how they work,” Peskin acknowledges, “but I think those who are interested in making their neighborhoods safer places will get involved. And it’s not going to have that big of an effect.”
He does think that organizations will review their procedures, although he says the two things they instruct their participants not to do — carry weapons and get physically involved — were violated in the Trayvon Martin case.
He says to expect a public relations campaign around “National Night Out” next month touting the benefits of town watch.