We had a great meeting on Monday night and I want to thank those who attended. We are in the process of pulling together a more detailed report focusing on the specific actions we are planning on taking based upon the meeting, but I had to pull together a high-level summary for the upcoming newsletter and I thought I’d share that with you for now. I’ve also linked to the documents that we handed out at the meeting at the bottom of this post. More soon!
The increase in crime that we all were beginning to notice back in October continued to escalate through the holidays. From home burglaries, to auto burglaries, to even auto thefts, the end of 2010 was a discouraging return to familiar crime levels after a relatively mild summer. Many residents have even wondered whether the neighborhood watch efforts could actually have an effect.
Fortunately, we are blessed with some very encouraging news from nearby neighborhoods that have truly embraced their neighborhood watch programs and made an enormous impact on the crime on their streets. For example, John Luther, Chair of the Barton Hills Neighborhood Watch and Patrol, has built a truly impressive citizen-led watch and patrol program with the help of some dedicated APD officers. Using a combination of targeted home crime protection efforts (deadbolts, lighting, etc.), traditional neighborhood watch tactics, and citizen crime patrols, BHNA has decreased the incidents of vehicle burglaries by 72% and residence burglaries by 53% in the 2010 holiday months vs. 2009.
On January 31st, SRCC invited John Luther along with Officer Dwayne Kinley and Commander Ernie Pedraza to tell us more about their program, what elements of their program have lead to success, and how they would suggest we attack the burglary problem we are seeing in the SRCC neighborhoods. The meeting was eye-opening and the small group of SRCC block captains and concerned residents left with a new perspective on how we can reinvigorate our own program to have a similar impact on our continuing crime problem. In the coming weeks, the SRCC Neighborhood Watch Program will roll out new efforts to supplement our existing network of block-captain-led watch areas with a centralized approach focusing on the following three areas:
Assistance – Reach out to neighbors who have been hit by criminal activity and support their efforts to protect themselves against future incidents. Assist with physical methods of crime prevention, such as securing deadbolts or improving lighting, as well as behavioral changes such as parking habits or hiding valuables.
Awareness – Communicate to neighbors when crime has occurred in their area. Send out regular crime database notices on the list-serve as well as targeted fliers on cars and doorsteps in the immediate area of the incident. Increase the awareness of these crimes in the parts of our neighborhood that are hit regularly.
Deterrence – Continue to educate block captains and watch areas about calling 911 whenever something suspicious is observed. Use the existing SRCC areas to divide up the neighborhood into more manageable sections and recruit volunteers for citizen foot and car patrols in each one. Erect neighborhood watch signs in visible areas throughout the neighborhood. Show criminals that they are being watched and that we are no longer easy targets.
This approach will require strong centralized volunteerism and we strongly encourage anyone who is interested in contributing to contact Marc Davis, Chair of Transportation and Public Safety Committee at vicepresident at srccatx.org or 512-656-2841