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West Sacramento Sun

Preventing Crime in Your Neighborhood

Jan 12, 2023 12:00AM ● By By Michele Townsend

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Neighborhood Watch is a program that has an ugly history of why it began in the United States, but since the 1970s it has developed into a very beneficial program that brings neighbors and neighborhoods together, which in turn makes your community a safer place to live. It is a program where the average citizen lends a hand to their neighbors.

We’re all aware of how West Sacramento continues to grow and yet our Police Department and Fire Department are not. That means that we need to step up and help out. West Sacramento is built on the strength of our community members. Those community members become stronger when they work together.

The best way to fight crime is to prevent it. The Crime Triangle identifies three factors that create a criminal offense. Desire of a criminal to commit a crime; Target of the criminal’s desire; and the Opportunity for the crime to be committed. You can break up the Crime Triangle by not giving the criminal the opportunity to commit the crime. This could include simple things like locking your doors or not leaving highly desired items in plain view when left unattended.  It can also be more structured and more effective by using programs like neighborhood watch.

‘I’m no snitch’ is a common phrase when talking to some about neighborhood watch. However, don’t you want your neighborhood safe? What if it is one of your family or friends? Would you want someone to step up and give a description? Neighborhood Watch is not expecting you to watch everyone’s neighborhood, it’s just a way to watch out for your neighbors and know that they’ll watch out for you.

According to the City of West Sac’s website, in 2022 the following types of crimes were committed: Murder, Rape, Assault, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Property Crimes, Larceny, Car Theft, Arson, Grand Theft, Petty Theft, Corporal injury on a spouse, Willful Cruelty to a Child, Child Abuse, Robbery, Carjacking, Battery, Lewd and Lascivious Act with a Child, Shootings, Extortion, and more! Neighborhood watch is a way to reduce the chance of these things happening at yours and your neighbors’ homes.

WSPD claims that the best crime-fighting tool ever invented is a good neighbor. With the Neighborhood Watch program neighbors are taught how to work with law enforcement, what to look for and how to report a crime. It includes when the report should go to law enforcement and when it goes to other agencies. They teach you when you should call 911 (when a crime is occurring right then) and when you should call the non-emergency dispatch number (if the crime has already happened and there is no medical attention needed or threat of return by suspect). The program also teaches you what types of things you should report to West Sac Connect.

Most importantly, it’s a good way to meet and get to know your neighbors. Once that happens you’ll find that it is a good way to get reports on what crimes or incidents are taking place in your neighborhood so that you can protect yourself. At the meetings, you are introduced to neighborhood watch apps, taught strategies. In addition, many insurance companies will reduce your rates when they know you are part of an active Neighborhood Watch program.

In the first meeting there is a list of items that you will be taught including how to set up the program, how to run it, what info your neighbors are specifically concerned about, what to look for, how to describe a person, vehicle or activity, location and direction of travel, when and if you are able to take photos or video, etc. Law enforcement will provide handouts.

If you are interested in starting a neighborhood watch program contact Ashley Irby, Police Services Coordinator West Sacramento Police Department, Community Outreach and Support at [email protected] and she will be able to get you started.

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