Neighborhood Crime Watch
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office recognizes that the responsibility for making your home and family safe from crime extends beyond routine Sheriff's Office patrol . This is why we believe in Neighborhood Crime Watch; a cooperative effort between the citizens of Alachua County and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office. Residential burglary is a major crime that can be effectively combated with neighborhood awareness. It is difficult for the law enforcement to effectively cover all residential areas.
It is also difficult for law enforcement to completely familiarize themselves with all the persons, vehicles and surroundings in a area. Concerned citizens can become the eyes and ears of their Sheriff's Office, by immediately reporting suspicious persons, vehicles, and activities. The duties of the citizen does not include apprehension of any suspects. Apprehension is still the responsibility of law enforcement. Remember, an informed, alert, and active community is absolutely necessary to win the war on crime.
What is Neighborhood Crime Watch?
Neighborhood Crime Watch is the involvement of citizens in cooperation with their local law enforcement agency, to reduce criminal activity in their neighborhood.
Now consists of residents within their neighborhood recognizing any suspicious criminal or dangerous activity and reporting it immediately to their local law enforcement agency.
Why Neighborhood Crime Watch Works.
Most law enforcement agencies are limited with staffing. Your cooperation as a resident will greatly help to overcome this shortage. By the watchful eyes and ears of the citizens observing suspicious activities within their own neighborhoods.
Citizens provide the benefit of having someone watching their neighborhood at all times. This lets criminals know they are being observed.
Steps In Starting Up Neighborhood Crime Watch.
- Call the Alachua County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Unit at (352) 374-1800.
- Survey your neighborhood for persons interested in the Crime Watch Program.
- Set up an initial meeting with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office to get everyone acquainted. One of the most important elements that makes or breaks the effectiveness of a Crime Watch group is how well you know your neighbors. The Alachua County Sheriff's Office will be at all the meetings to explain how the programs work, conduct crime prevention talks, and answer any questions.
- Establish the boundaries of the neighborhood watch area and locations to install the Neighborhood Watch signs.
- Maintain a roster of persons interested in participating in the program. Issue one of these rosters to each participating member.
- To insure and maintain interest in the program, regular monthly meetings should be set up at a members residence. Activities such as cover dish suppers, cookouts, block parties and bike rodeo’s can be utilized to instill interest. Remember, food, fun, free, and free when establishing your next event.
- Set up a pyramid telephone system to notify the neighborhood of suspicious criminal activity, lost children, or a hazardous or threatening situation.
- To be recognized as an active Neighborhood Watch community, your area must conduct three initial meetings. These meetings must consist of at least 50% of the neighborhood residence, and must be completed within a year. Thereafter, only one regular meeting is needed. These meetings must be attended by a crime prevention practitioner of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
What May Be Suspicious?
You may become aware of something that is out of the ordinary that you feel is leading up to some type of criminal activity. This is your chance to prevent a crime in your neighborhood. Do not be afraid to call when you hear or observe any of the following:
- Screams or sounds of distress
- Loud or unusual noises
- Strange persons loitering around the neighbor's house while the neighbor is away
- Strange vehicles that are parked or driving in the neighborhood with no apparent reason
- A stranger carrying electronic goods, household items or similar devices
- Broken or open doors or windows
- Persons walking down the street repeatedly peering into parked cars