October is National Crime Prevention Month, designated as such with the intent of empowering citizens to help prevent crime in the community and make their neighborhoods safer places to live. Toward that goal, the Roswell Police Department encourages citizens to be mindful of the simple steps they can take to help reduce crime in their neighborhoods, and realize that informational resources are available through the local Neighborhood Watch program.
A lot of the crimes that take place in many residential neighborhoods are property crimes, with larcenies and burglaries among the common ones. Among the things people can do to protect their homes and vehicles are installing adequate lighting in dark areas around the outside of the house, making sure door and window locks are strong, having a dog at home, making sure to lock vehicle doors, and not leaving valuables in vehicles. Other things to remember: Keep your property clean and maintained to eliminate hiding spots, install an alarm system, only open your garage door when you are pulling a vehicle in or out. It’s relatively simple stuff that can have positive results by making yourself a tougher target for criminals.
When you are out and about, whether heading to some stores or visiting friends elsewhere in town or in another city, try to park in an area with good lighting that is not too far from where you will be. As you are leaving or returning to your vehicle, be aware of others around you. Lock your doors once inside your vehicle.
Back in your own neighborhood, it is also important to know your neighbors so everyone can protect each other by being aware of and alert to what is taking place in the neighborhood each day. The people who know their neighborhood best are the people who live there. They know who belongs and who doesn’t. If something doesn’t look right or is out of place or unusual, it is worth having the police check it out in case it holds the potential for criminal activity.
Helping members of a neighborhood make good contact with each other is part of what Neighborhood Watch can do. The Roswell Neighborhood Watch program is funded by the city and works within the police department, as well as working with the fire department and at times other city departments to provide education and information regarding crime prevention and safety enhancement. The most effective Neighborhood Watch groups meet regularly to discuss issues in the areas and hear from police, fire and other experts regarding crime-prevention and safety topics. The program teaches people how to keep themselves and each other safe.
Anyone interested in forming a Neighborhood Watch group, setting up a presentation on crime prevention or safety practices, or taking advantage of other information and services the organization offers can call Richard Lucero at 624-6770 ext. 4131, or stop by the Neighborhood Watch office in the Roswell Police Department at 128 W. Second St.
Crime Prevention Month was first designated in 1984 by the Virginia-based National Crime Prevention Council. The observance is meant to recognize and celebrate crime prevention, while promoting awareness of issues such as victimization, volunteerism, and creating safer, more caring communities. Additional information about crime prevention of all sorts, as well making homes, schools, workplaces and communities safer, can be found at the National Crime Prevention Council’s website.
There is a limited number of police officers, so they can’t be everywhere at the same time. That means citizens play a key role by staying alert and aware of their surroundings and notifying police when something seems out of the ordinary and suspicious. After all, nobody knows a neighborhood as well as the people who live there every day. While Crime Prevention Month is a good time to be reminded of that, taking action to prevent crime and make local neighborhoods safer is something that needs to be done every day of the year.