Saturday, January 22, 2011

Crime Watch 1

As HOA board secretary, my specific responsibilities include taking board meeting minutes, social committee and HOA website, in addition to general board functions. The first thing I did at this capacity was to request the management company to update HOA website information on crime watch and board member contact information.

After the update, I took a quick look at the website to check on the information, even though I noticed that there were a few break-ins, I thought that they happened in surrounding communities and did not think too much about it. Then during a casual conversation on HOA work in September, I told Lily about the crime watch bulletin, she read the bulletin, and was alarmed that that there were three break-ins in our community and actually in streets near to ours! I was alarmed as well, and quickly alerted the board. Shortly afterwards, another break-in happened!

I requested the board to act. My initial proposals to the board included: 1. board and concerned residents have a meeting with city police department, 2. invite police crime prevention unit to make a presentation. For a few weeks, I acted as messenger between the board and concerned residents while trying to organize the meeting with city police department. Many suggestions were made: crime prevention training, crime watch, security patrol, surveillance camera, community vehicle sticker, speed bumps in streets and alley ways, increasing street lights, notification of the community about what had happened .....

In this period more break-ins occurred in the community. Many residents who knew the situation were on the edge, while many other were not aware of what had been happening at all. I pushed for action again! - more specific proposals per comments I heard from residents. While many of the suggestions required deliberations and board decisions, I decided to move ahead with what could be done right away: to educate the community about crime prevention and to mobilize the community for a crime watch program.

Crime Prevention Education

The crime prevention seminar took place in early November, six weeks after my initial proposal! This was primarily due to the slow action from the management company which was to make the appointment with the presenting officer.

Despite the fact that Crime prevention seminar was held at a library 4 miles away from the community, 50 ~ 60 people showed up at the meeting - most ever I had ever seen in our HOA meeting!! Three police officers attended the presentation, two were officers from crime prevention unit, one was the burglar detective.

The meeting went well. The police presentation emphasized

1) Seek help from police first in case of criminal activities.

2) Residents need to report suspicious person/cars/activities to police by calling 911 or non emergency police number.
3) Home security: reinforcement to the door, usage of peep hole, alarm system

"When good guys stand up, bad guys leave; when people hide in their corners, bad guys will take over".

Police detective talked about what city police had done and what the situations are in our community. The city increased police patrol and added under cover patrol in the community.

Crime Watch Program

Of all the techniques and methods, community crime watch has been proven to be the most effective crime prevention method. The basic principle of crime watch is

"Know your neighbors, Report Suspicious Activities to Police".

Our crime watch start-up meeting was held at a library near our community.

The agenda:

1. Go through the general guidelines for Crime Watch
2. Discussions on how we can do the crime watch well
3. Sign-up block captains
4. adjourn

About 100 residents attended the meeting! Another record for our HOA meeting. 40+ residents volunteered to be block captains for 20+ streets in our community.

Quickly our block captains were in action - contact their neighbors, have block meetings to inform and to make neighbors get to know each other, form block email lists, ....One block went a step further - started their own citizen patrol for crime prevention!!

The direct impact of the crime watch program is that our community is mobilized, energized and organized to prevent crimes. Many residents got to know their next door neighbors for the first time. The feeling of belonging to a community is on the rise!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the hard work. We really appreciate it.
    You are definitely right"When good guys stand up, bad guys leave". Our neighbours in Thorp Springs work together to have daily patrolling. It helps a lot.