Rural Neighborhood Watch Program
By Deputy John Blenker and Community Services Officer Jennifer Abrao, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office
As part of the community, the Sheriff’s Office plays an important role in keeping the community safe. However, citizen involvement is essential to combat crime. You and your neighbors know what is going on in your community the best. By cooperating with each other and law enforcement, people can help fight crime in their community in the most effective way – before it begins.
Thanks to many of our rural residents that actively report crimes and suspicious activities we in Law Enforcement are better prepared to investigate and solve crimes in our outlying areas.
WHAT IS NEIGHBORHOOD/FARM WATCH
To me neighborhood watch is a partnership between the communities in which it is located and their local law enforcement agencies. It informs citizens of ways they can make their community and individual residences safer by learning proven crime prevention techniques. Collective action by neighbors has proven to be successful in making communities safer and increase the quality of life.
TYPES OF NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAMS
In Sonoma County we have urban, residential and rural (Farm) neighborhood watch groups. The objective of each of the groups in the area is to reduce crime and promote public safety.
STARTING AND MAINTAINING A NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAM IN YOUR AREA
Unfortunately the need to have a neighborhood watch program usually stems from reacting to an incident or series of incidents in a neighborhood or area. It takes more than just one person to keep a Neighborhood Watch active and successful. Once a group is established in your area, members are encouraged to watch out for one another and hold regular meetings or neighborhood events at least once or twice a year. This way everyone can keep up-to-date on current crime trends and continue to build a sense of community.
- Knowing what is going on in your neighborhood in terms of crime is a first step to realize the need for a neighborhood/farm watch program.
- Developing a partnership with Law Enforcement and other agencies that can help to deal with the problems.
- Determine the needs of the area and what do the different agencies need to be aware of.
- The most effective groups have leadership with-in the neighborhoods. This would be the person that is willing to take the bull by the horns and organize neighbors.
- With proper leadership with- in a group means that a problem that is identified does not lose interest until it is solved.
TECHNOLOGY AND NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH
Thanks to technological advances there are new ways a Community can remain vigilant about criminal activity in their areas.
- Phone and email trees have become very popular with Neighborhood Watch groups around the county.
- "NIXLE" provides information about recent crimes as do many of the local Law Enforcement web sites.
- Stay up to date on what's happening in your area by signing up for daily, weekly or monthly neighborhood watch alerts. Visit our website for a link to Raids Online, an online crime mapping service, or download the app to sign up.
NEIGHBORHOOD/FARM WATCH IS A WAY TO FIGHT BACK AGAINST CRIME
Thefts and damages to property can affect people's livelihoods and cause and area to decay. An adequate watch program in an area has been a proven way at combating crime.
WE CAN HELP
If you have questions about Neighborhood/Farm watch programs in your area don’t hesitate to contact me or Community Services Officer Jennifer Abrao. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can.
SONOMA COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE- CRIME PREVENTION