Neighbors band together to fight crime

SUGAR LAND, TX [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Neighborhood Watch is a community policing partnership program that depends on citizen involvement to prevent and discourage crime and reduce fear by taking certain home, property and personal self-protection precautions.

"It's really about getting to know your neighbors, looking out for them and reporting crimes and suspicious activities to the police," said Beat 1 Crime Prevention Officer Eric Babnew. "There are many benefits to the program."

Residents interested in starting new programs should enlist the support of half the neighbors on their block. A crime prevention officer will then meet with neighbors to discuss the following details of the program:

  • Neighborhood Watch rules and duties
  • "Telephone Tree" block map for quick contact with your neighbors
  • street signs and window stickers
  • home security surveys and participation in Operation I.D.
  • flexible get-togethers that focus on residents' needs, concerns and interests
Each block decides how to run its own program, communicating with crime prevention officers, coordinating Neighborhood Watch block activities, disseminating crime prevention information and educational literature and recruiting new neighbors into the program.

"The cost to start a program involves a commitment of time," said Babnew. "Besides preventing crime and reducing fear, Neighborhood Watch builds pride, forges bonds among block residents, improves citizen-police relations and can address other block issues and concerns like child safety, youth development, senior citizen welfare and quality-of-life."

Participants enjoy an ongoing dialogue with police on many topics including:

  • basic crime prevention measures to safeguard you, your home, and valuables
  • direct telephone contacts to crime prevention officer
  • cooperative surveillance and how to recognize suspicious activity
  • how to handle city ordinance "nuisance" violations
  • how to deal with suspected drug activity
  • experts to speak, instruct or train at Neighborhood Watch get-togethers.
To learn more about creating a Neighborhood Watch program, contact the Sugar Land Police Department's Crime Prevention Division at 281-275-2500.

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