Neighborhood Watch Program
Neighborhood Watch was developed as a means to fight crime through prevention before it occurs. The main concept of the program is for you to watch over your neighbor's house and for your neighbor to watch over yours. If you see something that doesn't look right we ask that you report it to us promptly. No one knows your neighborhood better than the residents who live there. Public apathy and easy opportunity are the greatest tools for the criminal. Participating in a Neighborhood Watch Program and following our recommendations, you help to eliminate the criminal's two greatest tools.
Suburban and rural crime is now growing at more rapid rate than urban crime. The most common crimes are property crimes such as burglary, thefts, and vandalism. One of the reasons for this increasing crime rate is the distance between homes which makes it harder to observe your neighbor's property. Secondly, law enforcement agencies have a larger geographic area to patrol which makes quick response time more difficult. A third reason is the improved road system which makes most suburban and rural areas easily accessible to non-residents. These are some of the reasons why being a good witness takes on a new importance.
When should I call the police?
The general rule of thumb is if the situation looks suspicious then it is suspicious. Trust your judgment and call the police. Nobody knows your neighborhood better than you do. You know the people, cars and activities that are normal in your neighborhood. YOU ARE THE EXPERT! "See something, Say something"
What should I report to the police?
Suspicious cars, sound of breaking glass, suspicious persons, unoccupied vehicles with the motor running, parked cars in secluded areas (occupied or unoccupied), any found property, gunshots, screams, hang-up or suspicious phone calls. Let the police investigate.
How do I report suspicious activity?
You may report all suspicious activity by calling or texting "911". The dispatchers are trained to ask specific questions in particular order in order to allow them to quickly assess the priority of the call and get help to you as soon as possible. The dispatcher will ask for your information so that an officer can call you back if needed or requested however you do not have to provide your information to call 911. You will be asked your name, address, telephone number, the exact location of the suspicious activity, a recount of what you saw, description of vehicles and people, and if they left, when and in what direction. Stay on the phone. Don't hang up until you are told to.
When you do hang up, don't go out to investigate on your own. You are much more important as a source of timely information and your safety is our paramount concern.
One of the most valuable pieces of information you can provide is a good description of the suspect. Important facts to remember when obtaining a description are:
- Approximate age
- Race (White, Black, Hispanic, Asian etc.)
- Height and Build (compare them to yourself or spouse)
- Clothing description
- Hair (Cut, Length, Color)
- Unusual markings (tattoos, scars, birthmarks, deformities, etc.)
- Speech impediments and accents
The best way to get a good description is to start at the head and work down.
When describing a vehicle consider the basics such as make, model, and license plate but also things that stick out as unusual such as body damage, loud exhaust, modifications. These can help us pin point a particular car when a license plate isn't available.
Again, don't be afraid to call the police
We will never criticize your choice to call the police. We would much rather check something out and confirm that there is no problem than find out later that there was!
The goal of Crime Prevention is to reduce the opportunity for crime and increase community involvement through timely reporting of unusual activity. Together we can make this a reality.
For additional information concerning Neighborhood Watch or Crime Prevention Programs, please feel free to contact the Crime Prevention Officer at 215-699-5861.