This past July, SRCC launched a pilot Neighborhood Watch Patrol program in an effort to dramatically increase our impact on the ongoing vehicle and home burglaries in our neighborhood. The pilot program covers Areas 4a and 4b, two parts of the neighborhood that have historically experienced a significant amount of crime, and is modeled after the very successful Patrol program in Barton Hills that has decreased burglaries by over 50%.
After an initial training session led by Committee Members Dennis Cudd and Shelly Leibham Vornberg, aided by Officer Robert Barboza, Officer Dwayne Kinley, Commander Ernest Padraza, and Barton Hills Neighborhood Watch Chair John Luther, we had 24 trained patrollers who began signing up for slots on our patrol calendar. Throughout August and September, we had volunteers patrolling the pilot area for anywhere from 5-15 hours per week with large magnetic “Neighborhood Patrol” signs on their vehicles. In addition to these volunteer efforts, Constable Maria Canchola graciously offered to have her Deputies patrol the neighborhood occasionally on their way to and from the Court House. The increased presence was noticed by several supportive residents and, we are sure, many criminals as well.
In early September, APD apprehended two suspects after a burglary on Avondale and an attempted burglary on Travis Heights Blvd. 911 calls by the victims as well as neighbors played a large role in the arrests. Since these arrests, and the implementation of the patrol program, we have seen a drop in the amount of burglaries in these areas of our neighborhood. It’s still too early to tell whether there has been a lasting effect, but we will examine the data very closely at the end of the year to determine whether or not the patrol program has had a positive impact on crime and, if so, the program will be expanded.
A second training session was held in September where an additional 15 patrollers were trained. Moving forward we are trying to encourage all of the trained patrollers to sign up for just 2 hours per month as well as continue to hold periodic training sessions for anyone who is interested in participating in the program. If you feel that you can devote just an hour and a half to training and a small on-going commitment of 2 or more hours per month, then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you involved.