BENNINGTON >> The Vermont Veterans Home is the newest member of a nationwide crime prevention program, thanks to the help of a local bank.

Berkshire Bank will fund the cost of the Senior Crime Stoppers Program at the facility.

The program includes lock boxes for residents and a 24-hour crime reporting hot line, according to George Clinard, vice president of relationship development for the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation.

The program's goal is to "ensure that a zero tolerance to crime atmosphere exists and is vigilantly maintained... in our nation's senior housing communities that contributes to the overall quality of life," Clinard said during an event at the Veterans Home on Thursday afternoon.

Under the new program, all residents will be provided lock boxes for their rooms.

"They will be given a wristband with a key which is very convenient for them," Clinard said.

A toll-free anonymous tip line is open 24 hours a day for residents or staff and $1,000 rewards are offered for stolen property.

The program also includes training for staff, as well as a video entertainment series that can be played at the facility.

The program started in 1994. Today, it operates in 47 states under the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation, a national organization. According to its website, a bank's participation guarantees them federally mandated Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements of providing aid to low and moderate income individuals.


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Berkshire Bank's charter plaque and a check were presented during Thursday's celebratory event at the Veterans Home.

Berkshire Bank will also pay for a service dog for a resident, according to Veterans Home administration.

The Crime Stoppers program aligns with other efforts of Berkshire Bank, said Erin Boggan, vice president for the bank's community reinvestment. She said the Pittsfield, Mass.-based financial institution is committed to serving veterans.

"We are proud to be a part of Bennington County," she said.

Contact Ed Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.