GREENSBORO, N.C. -- As the Greensboro Police Department pushes its "Know Your Neighbors" campaign, one of Greensboro's 120 neighborhood watch groups credits neighborhood (community) watch groups for a two-thirds reduction in crime since the group began seven years ago.
Officer E.Y. Watkins, the crime prevention coordinator for the police department, said neighborhood watch groups function through a mutual relationship between each neighborhood watch group and the police department. She said these groups are the "eyes and ears" of the police department, whose officers cannot be everywhere at all times.
"Tico" Wallace and Jim Farley, who share the responsibilities of watch captain and block captain for the Lamrocton community, said by holding monthly meetings and forming trust among neighbors, they successfully have been able to reduce the number of break-ins and other instances that pose danger to their neighbors' safety. Farley, who said he serves as the "feet on the ground" leader of the neighborhood, often walks around the block to look for anything out of the ordinary. He said he encourages neighbors to get out and take walks more often, as he believes potential criminals fear witnesses to crimes.
Wallace and Farley provided tips on how to crime-proof homes before going out of town. They suggested ensuring all locks are secured and widows (including sliding glass doors) are locked. They also want homeowners to set their interior and exterior lights on timers. They said to ask a trusted neighbor to secure mail, newspapers and packages expected to arrive during the time in which the homeowner is out of town. Additionally, homeowners should make sure they trim their trees and bushes prior to going out of town, so as to improve visibility around windows and entrances. Lastly, homeowners should install and use alarm systems.
If homeowners are asked to watch the home of a neighbor who is out of town, Wallace and Farley said, "This is where knowing your neighbor really makes a difference." He said neighbors should be able to recognize unfamiliar cars or people around the house, as well as look for objects moved out of place.
For a list of neighborhood watch resource officers in your Greensboro neighborhood, visit the city's community watch page. Other Triad cities operate similar programs, some of which are run by the county sheriff's offices.
The Greensboro Police Department reminds people who live in the Triad always to call 911 first, if they witness a crime or see something suspicious. They also can utilize the Crime Stoppers tip line by calling 336-373-1000 or texting BADBOYZ to 274637.
WFMY News 2