According to the Columbus Division of Police, Blockwatch has proven itself as one of the most effective ways for neighborhood residents to get involved in the fight against crime.
HOW DOES BLOCKWATCH WORK?
Blockwatch establishes an organized network for residents to exchange ideas and information with their neighbors and with the police. Through Blockwatch training sessions, residents learn how to become the extended eyes and ears of the police. They learn to report on suspicious or unusual activity in their neighborhoods to help police fight crime. Blockwatch participants also learn security tips for their home and personal safety tips for themselves and their families.
- Blockwatch members are NOT expected to do the job of the police.
- Being a Blockwatch member does NOT put residents at risk or in situations of danger.
The key to success in Blockwatch is community involvement. The more residents actively involved in the Blockwatch program, the more effective the Blockwatch can be. By getting to know your neighbors and fine-tuning your observation skills, you can help prevent crime in your neighborhood!
A Block Captain (or Co-Captains) serve a valuable role as a leader for their area Blockwatch. A Block Captain can help by:
- Canvassing neighbors to explain the program, hand out information and encourage participation
- Distributing flyers for monthly Blockwatch Alliance meetings
- Maintaining an updated list and map of neighbors who agree to participate as Blockwatch members
- Setting a good example for neighbors by implementing home security measures and practicing good personal safety habits
- Welcoming new residents to their neighborhood and encouraging their participation in Blockwatch
- Completing the “Know Nine Neighbors” exercise
All Blockwatch members can help keep their neighborhood safe by
- Watching out for their neighbor and their neighbor’s property
- Notifying the police of any suspicious activity or crime in progress
- Reporting to the police if they have been a victim of crime
- Notifying their Block Captain if they have been a victim of a burglary, vandalism or other criminal activity
- Updating security and hardware in their home
- Marking all valuables so they can be identified if stolen
- Attending Blockwatch meetings in their neighborhood
- Completing the “Know Nine Neighbors” exercise
WHAT “SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY” DO BLOCKWATCH MEMBERS LOOK FOR?
As a Blockwatch member, here are some of the things that you would watch for:
- Someone screaming or shouting for help
- Sounds of breaking glass or shattering wood
- Unusual noises
- A beam from a flashlight or light in a neighbor’s home
- Persons going door to door
- Someone looking into windows or parked cars
- Unknown persons waiting in front of a home or loitering around the neighborhood
- A stranger in the back yard of your house or your neighbor’s
- Property being taken out of houses where no one is at home or from a business after it has closed
- Property being carried by persons on foot
- Property being loaded into a vehicle or being removed from a vehicle
- An opened or forced door or window
- Strange vehicles parked at your neighbor’s house
- Slow moving vehicles cruising the block
- Someone being forced into a vehicle
- A stranger sitting in a car or stopping to talk to a child
- Abandoned cars
In any of these situations, you should write down the description of any suspicious person and/or vehicle in as much detail as possible. Get the model, color and license number of the vehicles if you can. Call the police and report what you have seen. Mention that you are a member of the Greater Linden Blockwatch when you call. Let your Blockwatch Captain and neighbors know if you have observed something suspicious or unusual in your neighborhood, but call the police first. The police non-emergency number is 645-4545. In an emergency or life-threatening situation, call 911.
GREATER LINDEN BLOCKWATCH ALLIANCE
There are many blocks in Linden that have an identified Block Captain and several residents who have made a commitment to watch over their neighborhood and report suspicious activity to the police. However, there are some blocks where only one or two residents have expressed an interest in being a Blockwatch participant. In either case, everyone interested in participating in being a Blockwatch member is encouraged to attend the Greater Linden Blockwatch Alliance monthly meetings. The Blockwatch Alliance meetings are held on the SECOND TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH, 7:00-8:30 PM at the POINT OF PRIDE BUILDING (1410 Cleveland Avenue, First Floor).
At the monthly Blockwatch Alliance meetings, Blockwatch members have the chance to:
- Meet with the Community Liaison Officer(s) from the Columbus Division of Police, Precinct Two and Five
- Hear a variety of speakers provide valuable information on topics related to safety, security and crime prevention
- Receive resource materials and information, and
- Hear neighborhood crime statistics and reports on specific crime trends occurring in Linden.
There is no cost to be a Blockwatch member, but it can save you the headache and heartache of being a victim of crime!
Are you interested in joining or starting a Blockwatch in Linden? Call Greater Linden’s Crime Prevention Coordinator at 294-9600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org