March 8, 2017
Neighbor Watch organizations have evolved over the years and are today primarily communication based entities. The purpose of the Neighborhood Watch is to observe activities in the community and report any activity or behavior that might be deemed suspicious, unlawful or in need of police or emergency assistance.
It is important to note that the Neighborhood Watch does not patrol the neighborhood. We are not the police. Watch members are urged to never directly engage with individuals that might be behaving in a suspicious manner. Your only duty is to call the police and provide whatever additional information you have to aid them in their investigation. Report suspicious activities using the telephone number: 727-582-6200, do not use 911, that is only to be used for emergencies that require an immediate police response.
The greater the number of participants the greater the effectiveness of the program. An effectiveNeighborhood Watch becomes more than signage and decals, the community gains a reputation as one that takes care of its own. And as that reputation grows, those who come to neighborhoods to do harm may bypass ours, because they know we’re watching. As importantly, unsafe conditions and emergencies of all kinds tend to discovered earlier and reported sooner, raising the potential for more rapid resolutions of problems and better outcomes for those needing help.
To join, send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Neighborhood Watch”. The Pinellas County Sheriff Star Publication and other advice notes are sent to all Neighborhood Watch organizations, and as a member, you will receive copies of these materials as they are issued.
Promotional materials are also available upon request, including a general Neighborhood Watch pamphlet, a Crime Viewer summary, an “Alert Pinellas” summary, a Crime Prevention Citizens Handbook, and a window or door decal announcing that you are a member of the Neighborhood Watch.
Future Meetings: We will have at least one meeting per year to discuss Watch related issues, and additional meetings if so desired by the majority of the Watch participants. If enough new residents join the Neighborhood Watch, we will arrange for a presentation and discussion session with our assigned Deputy.
Crime Prevention and Home Safety:
Equipment: Based on data derived from interviews with criminals, the presence of the following equipment tends to materially deter criminals from targeting your person or property.
- Alarm system: An alarm system reduces the potential of becoming a target by nearly half.
- The presence of a large dog.
- Motion activated lighting:
- Camera Video Systems: Highly recommended by the police as both a home safety issue and as a potential source of information if a crime is committed and recorded by someone’s system.
- Door bell cameras: Recently available door bell cameras install over the typical door bell and once initiated, anyone approaching or at your door can be viewed from the owner’s smart phone.
- Hints and tips to prevent your home and property from becoming a target: The following are recommended common sense protective actions one can take to increase security.
- Signage: The neighborhood will be evaluated by Pinellas County Police to determine what signage is necessary to support of the program/
- Know Your Neighbor: Get to know your neighbors, especially those that reside on either side of you. Exchange personal as well as your emergency contact information.
- Trim shrubbery around your front door to eliminate hiding places.
- Lock you vehicle at night, and remove all valuables, especially guns.
- Keep your garage door closed when the garage is not in use.
- Be extra cautious about two strangers coming to your door. In what is now a common crime technique, one person will try to distract you while the other steals.
- Keep doors locked even when home, and consider installing a strong storm door to prevent push-in robberies.
- Do not crack open your windows when away – that is a dead give-away that you are not home.
- Close blinds when away; open blinds allows the potential thief to look into and survey the home.
- Vacation, or absent for an extended period: In addition to the obvious measures of stopping or having a neighbor collect your mail and newspapers while you are away,Here are some additional ideas to consider:
- Remove door flyers daily, and if away, have a neighbor remove them.
- Sign up with the Sheriff for “House Check”. House check, is a service of extra and specific surveillance of your property when you are away. Go to: http://www.pcsoweb.com/, click on “Programs and Services”, from the dropdown menu select “Vacation House Checks” and follow the ensuing instructions.
- Put lights on timers in two different areas at different times to mimic normal activity.
- Don’t “advertise” vacations (before or during) on social media, and keep garage door closed when packing vehicle for a trip.
General Information Resources:
- The Sheriff’s Website: The Sheriff has an extensive website that includes an enormous amount of information, including crime statistics for the entire county.
Go to: http://www.pcsoweb.com
- Alert Pinellas Program: An emergency notification service, free for all residents. Go to: http://www.pinellascounty.org/alertpinellas/ and follow the ensuing instructions.
- If you use Twitter, you can get updates and broadcast of information; follow @sheriffpinellas; @pinellas911 ; @iontb
- Join our new Neighborhood Watch, and help us improve the security of our community.
For additional information contact Charlie Nunziata: email@example.com 727-393-3757