Since February, those of us involved in the SRCC Neighborhood Watch program have been working on a new approach to fighting crime in our neighborhoods. Â You may remember from our last update that our new efforts have been centered around three major points:
Assistance – Reach out to neighbors who have been hit by criminal activity and support their efforts to protect themselves against future incidents.
Awareness – Effectively communicate to neighbors when crime has occurred in their immediate area to heighten awareness and encourage preventative measures.
Deterrence – With a combination of 911 reporting, citizen patrols, and visible signage, show criminals that they are being watched and that our neighborhood is no longer an easy target.
Since taking this new direction, we have analyzed the crime hotspots throughout the SRCC neighborhoods. Â We have decided to start a pilot program for the neighborhood watch and focus on a select area of the neighborhood. Â By starting with a smaller area, we believe we can build our network of patrols and use the initial volunteers more effectively. Â Due to the the frequency of auto and home burglaries, combined with the number of existing neighborhood watch volunteers the areas weâ€™ve selected for the initial pilot program are Area 4A & 4B, as shown on the SRCC Map at the end of this post.
- The pilot program for Areas 4A and 4B will launch this summer using the tactics listed below. Â The goal is to make these areas a hostile environment for criminals and drastically decrease the number of committed crimes.
- Any neighbor that reports a crime that affected them personally will be offered assistance in taking preventative measures such as strengthening deadbolts, trimming foliage for visibility, and increasing lighting.
- Volunteers will monitor the APD crime reports and distribute â€œCrime Alertâ€ fliers immediately to the specific blocks affected by each crime in an effort to warn other neighbors of the activity and encourage them to take precautions. A number of Neighborhood Watch signs will also be placed permanently in the most visible and most crime-affected spots within the area.
A Â set of volunteers will be trained for patrol duty using APD and Barton Hills training methods and they will sign up for periodic patrol duty throughout the area with magnetic neighborhood watch signs for their cars and shirts for foot patrols. Â These volunteers will be the eyes and ears for APD within the area – reporting anything they see that seems suspicious or out of place.
We are very pleased to have the continued support of APD, Constable Maria Cancholaâ€™s staff, and the tireless efforts of John Luther from the Barton Hills Neighborhood Association in setting up and executing this plan. Â These efforts will continue through the end of 2011 and then the results will be evaluated. Â If we can show the kind of improvements that Barton Hills saw after implementing their efforts, we will attempt to expand the pilot program to the rest of the SRCC neighborhoods.
We canâ€™t do this alone, obviously. Â We need volunteers who are willing to be trained by APD. Â If you live in Area 4A or 4B and wish to get involved, please contact Dennis Cudd (denniscudd at gmail.com), Â Shelly Leibham (shelly.leibham at gmail.com), Marc Davis (vicepresident at srccatx.org), or your Block Captain and we will be very happy to find a way to use whatever time and effort you can provide.