The Longview Police Department (LPD) has trained employees who can offer residents of the city information on security and crime prevention methods. This service is a continuing effort by the City of Longview to reduce crime.
The police department has recognized the need for continuing citizen participation and education. The information provided by the crime prevention personnel is intended to provide the citizens and business community with up-to-date and practical self-help security recommendations.
Crime prevention educators are constantly expanding their experience and services in response to changing crime problems.
Managers who have started Block Watch programs note these benefits:
- Lower tenant turnover, leading to considerable savings
- Less damage to property and lower repair bills
- Reduced crime
- A safer, more relaxed atmosphere for the tenants
- A positive reputation for the apartment community leading to higher quality applicants and, over time, increased property values
- Clean house - address serious tenant problems before calling a building-wide meeting. Until then, rely on informal communications with good tenants to help identify and address concerns.
- Budget community activities into the expense of each property and consider the promotion of such activity a criterion for management evaluation.
- Hold a meeting at least quarterly. Hold
know your neighbor days.
- Involve children and teenagers as well as adults.
- Invite emergency response people to a meeting - police and firefighters - to foster cooperation. Invite local merchants to participate when appropriate.
- Nurture a sense of shared responsibility rather than dependency on any one person to make the Block Watch a success.
- Encourage all tenants to engrave their property. Property engravers may be borrowed from the LPD Block Watch coordinator.
- Encourage nearby neighbors and apartment communities to get involved.
Importance of Community
In the absence of a sense of community, the isolation that residents feel can lead to apathy, withdrawal, anger - or even hostility - toward the community around them. Whether done under the name of community pride, resident retention, or Block Watch, the desired result is the same: As apartment residents get to know each other and the manager, a sense of community - of belonging - develops, and neighbors and tenants are more willing to do what it takes to keep a neighborhood healthy.
Home Security Checklist
The Home Security Checklist can assist you in securing your home.
Block Watch meetings have several important objectives. An LPD employee will conduct the first organizational meeting to help participants understand the following objectives:
- Block Watch is a daily offer of protective concern among a small group of neighboring households. As such, the Block Watch is part of daily neighborhood life - not a series of meetings.
- Block Watch is basically a defensive rather than offensive strategy and is based on the belief that there is a greater, more immediate and less expensive benefit in preventing a burglary than there is in assailing the criminal justice system for failing to
do justiceafter a burglary has occurred.
- The Block Watch defensive strategy includes identifying the precise patterns on crime in that particular neighborhood and then acting in concert with government officials (police and non-police) to reduce one's own and the neighbors' risks.
- As an organized, responsible group of citizens, the Block Watch members will find the criminal justice system more responsive to their needs than would be the case if each member acted individually.
- Block Watch generates a positive feeling of alliance that helps enable the group to advance beyond minimum security steps.