Kingstowne Community Gathers for Neighborhood Watch Training
Officer Jim Reid with the Franconia District Station offers suggestions for starting Neighborhood Watch programs.
Crime Prevention Officer Jim Reid led a discussion on Neighborhood Watch programs Wednesday evening at the Franconia District Station.
Residents from Manchester Lakes, Windsor Knoll, Franconia Forest, Wilton Woods, Edsall Park and other surrounding areas attended the training after becoming concerned about safety in their neighborhoods.
A successful Neighborhood Watch program consists of several volunteers who patrol their neighborhoods and report suspicious activity to the police with the goal of preventing crimes.
Officer Reid's presentation included information on types of Neighborhood Watches:
- Passive Observation: Staying alert to your surroundings during normal activity.
- Window Watch: Following a schedule, volunteers look out their windows to examine the surroundings and take note of suspicious activity.
- Walking Patrols: Residents walk around the neighborhood in pairs, with cell phones, and look for suspicious activity.
- Vehicular Patrols: Volunteers drive around their communities to look for suspicious activity and increase their visibility. This is ideal for larger communities.
When starting a Neighborhood Watch, the following steps should be taken after a planning committee is formed:
- Identify crime problems
- Divide neighborhood into sections
- Identify Watch Coordinator and Block Captains
- Establish dates and locations for meetings
- Recruit volunteers by holding events and knocking on doors
Officer Reid stressed to avoid the following:
- Don't carry weapons
- Don't contact or confront suspicious persons
- Don't create a predictable routine or pattern
- Don't ignore your intuition
- Don't hesitate to call the police
Officer Reid urged the importance of calling the police if something doesn't seem right. "If it looks and feels wrong, it probably is."
To start your own Neighborhood Watch in the Kingstowne area, contact Officer Reid at (703) 922-8263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.