Taking Ownership with Neighborhood Watch
POP Officer Michael Turrell
The police are the public, and the public are the police. This seemingly simple notion was first iterated by Sir Robert Peel over two centuries ago and has been the guiding light for community oriented policing efforts across the nation. Sir Robert Peel felt the key to preventing crime was through a collaborative shared effort between the police and the communities they serve. This vision of the community sharing in the responsibility through volunteer service helped establish what is commonly known today as Neighborhood Watch.
The residents of the City of Menifee have shown a clear desire to take ownership of their city through the passing of Measure DD, allowing the creation of The Menifee Police Department. Since our inception, the Menifee Police Department has received numerous calls from active members of the community interested in creating or continuing Neighborhood Watch programs. I would encourage those watch programs already in place to register their groups at www.nnw.org, which will allow our POP Team to obtain contact information to seek interest in having us respond to meetings as well as gaining access to numerous literatures and trainings for meetings. For those interested in starting a watch program, I can offer the following five basic steps to help you get started:
o The first step towards a successful neighborhood watch will be identifying and recruiting community members willing to participate. The new, or previously established, watch groups can register their group at www.nnw.org for additional information and literatures for their meetings.
o Neighborhood Watch is a collaborative effort between communities and their police department. Once a watch has been formed, contact the Menifee Police Department POP Team to schedule a meeting. The POP Team is responsible for attending watch meetings and providing information, literature, and trainings on how communities can better protect themselves and address local issues.
o The first meetings should be an effort to gather information about various concerns of the community. These concerns should then be prioritized and discussed to determine which may be resolved on a local level and which require a more collaborative effort.
o The watch group will want to create a means of communication with one another. The most appropriate form of communication will be based on the community and can range from social media to a phone tree.
5. Take Action
o At this point, the watch group has been formed and is organized to address community problems. The last step is to take action. Now is the time to work together to implement the ideas addressed during meetings.