In preparation for National Crime Prevention Month in October and as part of its mission to uphold a safe and wholesome environment in which all community members can thrive, the Grover Beach Police Department is encouraging residents to start neighborhood watch programs throughout the City. All residents have a role to play in helping the Police Department serve and protect the Grover Beach community, and joining a neighborhood watch group is an impactful way to get involved.
“Community safety is a community effort,” said Grover Beach Police Chief John Peters. “The Grover Beach Police Department is fully committed to supporting local watch groups and building successful public safety coalitions within our City.”
Neighborhood watch groups advance public safety because, when the community joins together in collaboration with law enforcement, crime can be stopped before it even begins. These programs strengthen relationships and communication between community members and their public safety officers. Involvement in neighborhood watch groups also increases awareness and helps individuals become better prepared and, therefore, better protected from crime.
All Grover Beach residents should feel empowered to begin talking with their neighbors and take action to start their very own neighborhood watch group. This can be achieved through five simple steps:
1. Recruit as many neighbors as possible. Gather their names and contact information. Designate a group Chair to take the lead on organizing meetings.
2. Submit a registration form to the Grover Beach Police Department and establish a collaborative relationship with local officers. The Department is available to help all Grover Beach neighborhood watch groups succeed.
3. Hold a kickoff meeting to identify the top three community concerns and develop an action plan towards addressing those issues through preventive and surveillance methods. It is important to note that neighborhood watch groups serve as extra “eyes and ears” and should report any suspicious activity to the Grover Beach Police Department so that trained local law enforcement can take appropriate action. The group’s chair is welcome to reach out to the Grover Beach Police Department to see if there is a police officer available during the kickoff meeting to learn more about the neighborhood’s specific concerns and offer advice or tips.
4. Create a communication plan. It is important to decide what type of communication will work best for a specific neighborhood watch group to stay in touch and coordinate with one another, be it meetings, social media, email, newsletters or a mixture of methods. With the growing popularity of social media groups, a neighborhood group may even decide to conduct most, if not all, of their interactions through those platforms. In partnership with the National Sheriffs’ Association Neighborhood Watch Division, Nextdoor even created a virtual neighborhood watch guide to help facilitate these types of online activities.
5. Take action! Hold meetings and events to continue momentum. The Neighborhood Watch Toolkit has a number of wonderful training resources and meeting ideas that can be useful to different groups.
The Grover Beach Police Department recognizes that not all neighborhoods will have the capacity to start a formal neighborhood watch group; however, there are still many ways individuals and families can safeguard and protect themselves and loved ones. In fact, home security projects can be as simple as heading to your local hardware store and making a few maintenance adjustments to your home, or as high-tech as purchasing equipment from a home security company for do-it-yourself installation. Below are the Grover Beach Police Department’s top tips:
1. Upgrade locks to resist sophisticated lock-picking techniques. Consider implementing a keyless entry system.
2. Install a peephole that offers a sufficient view of the porch and features an anti-reverse viewing lens, or consider investing in a camera system like Ring Doorbell or others.
3. Make sure the front door is sturdy and replace hinges and other hardware where needed.
4. Make an inventory list of valuables within the home, including receipts and serial numbers. This allows individuals to give an accurate description of valuables in the event of a home burglary and may increase the likelihood of property being recovered.
5. Test all smoke, heat, carbon monoxide and fire alarms to make sure they are in working order. These detectors save lives.
6. Upgrade windows for better security, plus better insulation can also help reduce utility bills.
Ultimately, Grover Beach neighborhood watch groups have the potential to unite community members, allow residents to reestablish control in their neighborhoods, enhance quality of life and reduce crime rates in the area. Residents who are interested in or have questions can review additional neighborhood watch and home safety resources on the Grover Beach Police Department’s website.