A most effective way of dealing
with crime problems!!
- Establish a Neighborhood
Watch Program where residents are alert to notice
suspicious activities during both daytime and night hours.
This is where neighbors check in periodically (daily) with
senior citizens and others who are shut-ins; it is everyone
being concerned about the well-being of the neighborhood and
its residents against criminals.
- Report to police, for
example, someone operating as a door-to-door
"salesman" who tries the doorknobs on doors
and peeks into windows.
- Report someone checking
cars, looking into car windows and trying car doors
along the street or parking lot.
- Report someone lurking in
the darkness, in bushes or out of sight who is a
stranger to the neighborhood.
- When reporting, make
certain you have a good description of the person or
persons and last location or direction of travel.
- Be mindful of movement in
your neighborhood, especially at night hours: someone
taking that "shortcut" across your neighbor's
lawn may be a burglar who just burglarized your
- If you observe (during any
time) someone carrying an object, such as TV or some
other valuable, down the street or loading it into a car
(and the person is not known to you) report it promptly
to police-give description, car description and license
number, direction of travel, etc.
- It could be perfectly
innocent-could also be a burglar leaving with the stolen
goods; many such burglaries happen right under peoples'
- Know your police number-keep
it posted by all your telephones (there are stickers
provided by the Rotary Club for this purpose at no cost to
- Form a neighborhood
organization to deal with crime problems (and other
neighborhood concerns too!) and follow the guidelines in
this chapter about the various activities that can be
- Such a neighborhood group can
start with you and just one or two neighbors; invite others
by circulating a paper to people on the block announcing a
meeting hour some evening at one of your homes or the local
church and start from there.
- Conduct a neighborhood crime
prevention class covering many of the items in this
handbook; invite a police representative (and preferably
have the neighborhood beat cop present) to discuss concerns
and what police and residents can do together.
- Educate neighborhood residents
about the various state, city, and borough laws about
problems (such as noise, harassment, etc.) and teach them
what can be done-through individual or association action.
- Stay informed about crime
problems via the news media and attend neighborhood and
other meetings of citizenry.
- Check the "moving
van" that is at a neighbor's home if you did not know
the person was moving; it may be a bold burglar emptying
someone's house-this happens more often than you think!
- Whistle-Stop Program:
Buy a whistle for every resident of the area (especially for
women to carry with them); blow the whistle when a crime
occurs-that will be everyone's signal to come to help or
call the police. It also scares away the criminal.
- Witness Advocate Program:
This is very important . . . it is a citizen effort to keep
track of witnesses (and victims) of crime to make sure they
get to the district justice hearing and court trial and, in
order to make sure the witness gets there, provide
transportation, baby-sitting service or even accompany the
person to the hearing or trial for moral support. Encourage
persons to file charges if a criminal act has been committed
and encourage them to appear as witnesses or to be
interviewed by the police. No criminal will be convicted
(and crime will not be stopped) by people unwilling or
afraid to testify. Stand up for your rights! Giving this
support and encouragement to your neighbors and fellow
citizens will guarantee their participation in the legal
process and in the fight to stop or prevent crime.
- Obey the law: To help
decrease crime, every person should set an example by
obeying all the laws individually.
- Insist on, help develop,
chaperon and assist in having recreation and other pursuits
for the young people of your neighborhood; be concerned
about their activities and what they are doing. Support
clubs and organizations that work with young people.
- Provide an escort service for
women and senior citizens in your neighborhood to aid them
in getting safely to and from the grocery store, etc.
- Remember: criminals are made,
not born. The root causes of crime must also be dealt with:
unguided and troubled youth; parents who do not care about
their children; poor housing and ghetto conditions;
discrimination, lack of job opportunities, drug addiction,
lack of educational and other opportunities; governmental
officials who fail or refuse to do their jobs due to
self-interest; disinterest or conflicts of interest. Address
these problems as a neighborhood and as an individual in
many ways: letters to the editor, petitions to local
officials, organizing neighborhood programs dealing with
such problems . . . and . . . register and vote! Politicians
listen to voters before they listen to anyone else.
- Consider having "beat
captains" . . . someone in the neighborhood (can be
done on a rotating basis) whose duty is to carry out the
neighborhood organization's various activities (including
the neighborhood watch program, etc.) to guarantee effective
follow - up to neighborhood goals and plans. Once a group
has been started, it is highly important that some results
be seen or some people will lose interest or consider it
"just another group talking about problems."
- Follow-up on reported crimes
to make sure action has been taken.
- Identify causes of
neighborhood deterioration: pot holes, poor street lighting,
rats, drugs, abandoned housing. Work to solve them, getting
appropriate agencies to help!
- Discourage vandalism and
mischief by children to both public and private property
(including recreational equipment and supplies) and vacant
homes; don't sit idly by while, for example, someone throws
a stone at a vacant home's window, etc.
- Operation Neighborhood
Clean-Up: repair porches, plant flowers, paint the outside
of homes and steps, sweep sidewalks, clear out trash,
bottles, broken glass, etc. The city can and will provide
the trash truck to haul it away. Get everyone into the
- After the clean-up operation,
organize a rummage sale or flea market open to the public
where discarded, old or not needed items from peoples' homes
can be sold.
- When a neighborhood resident
goes on vacation, arrange to watch their home, take in their
mail or do other things to prevent a would-be burglar from
knowing they are not at home.
- Make visits to the people who
are sick on the block-let them know you are concerned.
- Welcome new neighbors
personally and invite them to the next block meeting.
- Sponsor a neighborhood block
party or barbecue for everyone young and old; organize an
outing for the youth of the neighborhood (to a park, zoo,
ball game, swimming pool, hiking, visit to historic site,
- Make sure everyone keeps their
front porch lights (and even back porch lights) on every
- Publicize your neighborhood
events, goals and petitions; announce to the world that your
neighborhood is on the upward climb toward being a much
better place to live because people care and are working
- Meet with other adjoining
neighborhoods about mutual problems; there is strength in
numbers and more can get a job done.
- Develop and maintain a rapport
with the police who work in your area from patrolmen to
higher ranks. You will get their individual attention to
problems much better that way.
Back to top
For more information, contact the Office of
State Senator Vincent J. Fumo.
|1208 Tasker Street|
Philadelphia, PA 19148
|2637 East Clearfield Street|
Philadelphia, PA 19134
|Senate Box 203001|
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3001
|Copyright © 1996 by State Senator Vincent J. Fumo. Copyright is not claimed as to part of the original work prepared by an employee of the Senate of Pennsylvania, or Commonwealth governmental officer or employee as part of that person's official duties. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be copied, downloaded, stored, disseminated, transferred, or used, in any forms or by an means, except with State Senator Vincent J. Fumo's prior written permission.|