Making neighborhoods safer for children is the goal of a new crime-prevention program being implemented in Carbon and Emery counties by Mountain Fuel Supply Co. and the Utah Council for Crime Prevention, in cooperation with local law enforcement officials.

The new "McGruff Truck" program uses stickers to identify Mountain Fuel vehicles and their respective drivers as sources of help for children en route to and from school, while at play or in latch-key self-care situations.McGruff Truck is an extension of the McGruff House program, through which children are taught to recognize houses displaying a McGruff House sticker as safe places to turn for help. McGruff House, which also began in Utah, is operating in 37 states and is coordinated by the Utah council and the National Crime Prevention Council.

"We are pleased to have a major Utah company such as Mountain Fuel agree to pilot test this expansion of our efforts in child-safety programming," said Daniel Collett, Utah council program director. "Thanks to Mountain Fuel, Utah's Carbon and Emery counties will be the first areas in the United States to benefit from the McGruff Truck program."

Mountain Fuel's involvement in the McGruff Truck program resulted from suggestions made by company employee Robert Rojas, a meter setter in Price, and his wife, Zelda. Rojas suggested the idea, while Mrs. Rojas contacted the Utah Council for Crime Prevention through her involvement with the PTA in Price. The Utah council contacted Mountain Fuel, and the program was born.

"Mountain Fuel has expressed its concern for children's safety since 1985 by publishing photographs of missing children in Gaslight News, which is sent monthly to Mountain Fuel's 470,000 customers, and by sponsoring child-safety seminars," said company president D.N. Rose. Rose said if the program proves successful, it may be expanded to the rest of Mountain Fuel's system. He hopes other utilities that serve Utah customers, as well as utilities in other states, will participate in the McGruff Truck program if the pilot test proves effective.