Community Voices: Prevent Crime with Neighborhood Watch

It’s a fact: Neighborhood Watch prevents crime.

Over this past holiday weekend, Coronado experienced a crime spree by one individual who is believed to have been out of his mind on drugs. His behavior involved multiple attempted burglaries and thefts, as well as two successful home burglaries and one successful theft of a vehicle and some personal property that was recovered later. He also was involved in a hit-and-run with the stolen vehicle.

One of the suspect’s failed burglaries occurred at our house. The suspect was on our property and attempted to enter our home through a window after removing the window screen.

He likely scaled over our high patio wall because our patio gate was locked. So he breached our first line of defense.

But we lock all of our gates, windows and doors out of habit. So he failed to breach our second line of defense. As a result he failed to enter our house. His attempted burglary remained just that, merely an attempt.

Our third line of defense is our home alarm system. He never got that far.

You can read my 20 January 2014 DailyCoronado article entitled Coronado Holiday Weekend Crime Spree Update, More Neighborhood Watch Needed by clicking here. DailyCoronado is my website blog where I communicate with residents on a daily basis about our important community issues.

Another good defense against crime is Neighborhood Watch.

The fact is that active Neighborhood Watch groups reduce crime.

If you have any doubts about this fact, your doubts will be dispelled by the 2008 U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) report entitled Does Neighborhood Watch Reduce Crime?

You can read the complete, forty-page USDOJ COPS report by clicking here.

Researchers Katy Holloway, Trevor Bennett and David P. Farrington conducted a meta-analysis of the many studies of the many different Neighborhood Watch groups in the U.S. and U.K. According to their report, a meta-analysis is a statistical method of summarizing the results of a group of evaluations to determine the overall effectiveness of an intervention. The COPS study was complicated by a few factors, such as the different ways that different community groups evaluate their effectiveness, among other things.

Nonetheless, after their meta-analysis Holloway, Bennett and Farrington concluded that:

[A]cross all eligible studies combined, Neighborhood Watch was associated with a reduction in crime.

I strongly encourage you to call Coronado Police Department (CPD) Crime Prevention Unit at 619-522-7350 if you have a Neighborhood Watch group that’s operating, or if you need a little help getting your Neighborhood Watch group started.

Neighborhood Watch group members can effectively:

  1. Patrol streets and alleys and report suspicious activity, as well as evidence of suspicious activity, to the CPD
  2. Conduct block safety surveys to encourage all neighbors to lock all gates, windows, doors and take other safety steps toward protecting their family members and personal property.

If your actively engaged Neighborhood Watch group members post signs and stickers on their streets and homes, then they may send powerful signals to prevent criminals from victimizing you and your neighbors.

Copyright © 2014 Barbara Denny, Esq.

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