Monday, March 30, 2009

Neighborhood Watch Organizing Meeting

My notes from the Lakeview Neighborhood Watch Organizing Meeting, Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The area covered in the Lakeview Neighborhood Watch is basically the Lakeview Elementary School boundaries. The area is then divided into districts: North, Northwest, East, Central, Southwest, and South. I took some pictures of the map. They didn’t turn out well at all, but you can get the idea and see what area you are in. (see end of post for zoomed in pics)
Attendance: I counted over 70 people at the beginning of the meeting, but people kept coming in. If I had to guess, I would think 90-100 people were there.

Recent major crimes in our area: Drive-by shooting (drug related), Amelia Earhart was broken into yesterday (Monday, March 23) and several thousands of dollars of equipment were stolen (complete computer labs, etc.).

Officer Jensen spoke to us and answered some questions. He is the Police officer over our neighborhood. The following items are all things that he talked about.

He talked about the importance of our neighbor taking down a license plate number and calling in the drive-by shooting and offered a round of applause for him.

Provo City currently has 8 patrol cars out on the day shift, 9-10 on the swing shift, and 7-8 on graveyard.

Criminals look for the weakest, easy targets (people, cars, homes, etc.).

Make your home a hard target. Things you can do: light it up (keep your outside lights on all night), remove bushes that block the view from your front door, make sure your windows are locked, have solid core front doors, make sure you have a deadbolt lock that goes at least 1” into the wall, make sure your door hinges are screwed into a stud, and make sure you don’t have property left around your yard (bikes, especially ladders that can be used to access higher windows, etc.). Get an operating home security system.

Make your car a hard target by using the car alarm (red blinking light will stay on). Vehicles that are broken into usually have something valuable in sight.

Take inventory of all your property. This includes all the serial #’s for everything. Keep it in one book. Better yet, use a binder and include photos of your items, house, rooms, cars, etc. Pawn shops are required to enter data (serial #s). So if your item is stolen and you have a serial number the likelihood of finding your property goes way up.

Time of day most crimes happen – Thefts are late at night and assaults are random.

Crimes on the river trail are mostly graffiti and some lewdness up in the neighborhoods.

How bad is our area? It goes in spurts. We are a good community. We are in the middle, there are worse areas of town and there are better areas of town.

Other issues for our area: graffiti and street racing.

Graffiti should always be called in (801-85-CRIME). Graffiti is usually done by two types of people (taggers) – the artist type and gangs. The artsy ones will paint pictures usually to show off their work. Gangs are usually 3’x3’ sections tagging their gang name. These are usually done by youth in our own area. The best sign of knowing if your child is involved in this is to check their hands. Taggers always get paint on their hands. The other thing is to check their notebooks. Taggers often practice (doodle) their designs before they paint them.

Gangs in Provo include (there are several others): PBL, RJ, ABG, LBZ, STG. These gangs do not have borders and some have been around for 5-6 years. They do have colors for instance PBL is red and RJ blue. They don’t necessarily wear the colors all the time, but if they are going to the mall to hang out on a Friday night they most likely would.

Recently there was a gang fight at the mall (Provo Towne Center) involving 4 members from one gang and 6 from another. That night 1 was arrested. Officer Whatcott worked on this and 3 others were arrested later. The mall is not considered a known “hangout” for the gangs. It just happens to be a place that youth like to be.

Street Racing is also a problem for our area. If you see it happening please call it in. Most likely the officers won’t be able to do anything, but you might get lucky and have an officer already in the area. Also calling it in provides a record of the problem. Speed bumps are not something that Provo City will allow. All Provo City’s residential areas have a speed limit of 25 mph unless otherwise stated. We can put up signs on the side of the road. Officer Jensen has a bait car that he leaves out on the roads, this seems to help.

He said that we need to take care of our own neighborhoods. We need to keep our yards well kept. We need to obey city parking laws (cars must fit on your driveway). These help keep our neighborhoods safe and as a bonus, keeps our property values up. Parents need to watch their children. Crime in our area is mostly done by people in our area and not necessarily gang affiliated. Parents should check their kids’ backpacks, bedrooms, and sketch books. We need to obey noise ordinances. 7:am – 10:pm has a higher decibel allowance. If a noise is highly irritating or wakes you from a dead sleep call it in.

We will have a safer neighborhood if we will stand together vs standing alone. Adults taking walks at night is another thing we can do to deter crime. We need to know our neighbors and the vehicles that they drive. This will allow us to know of those vehicles that are out of place.

One thing that we can all work on is describing people and vehicles. Officer Jensen said that this is a learned skill and that we all should practice this (including our kids).

Provo City Police (when in doubt error on the side of calling it in)
Emergency 911
Non-Emergency 801-852-6210
Graffiti 801-85-CRIME or

Neighborhood Watch is what we are starting; it’s a foot-patrol sort of thing.
Mobile Watch is coming. We have to establish a Neighborhood Watch first. This is driving around the neighborhood to look for out of place things, etc.

McGruff House:
RaDeen Hatfield spoke about McGruff Houses. They were started in Salt Lake City in 1982. They are homes to provide temporary havens for children in dangerous situations. Adults at a McGruff house would be responsible to make phone calls to help the child either to their parents or the police. Questar also has McGruff Trucks. This is a self administered program. We decide how many houses. Participants are required to pass a background check (it’s really quick) and be trained. We would spend about $30 for signs. We would be required to have 3 sponsors. We would need one community sponsor (which could be our Neighborhood Watch), one school sponsor (which would be Lakeview Elementary School) and one Organization sponsor (which could be Lakeview Elementary PTA). McGruff houses are not bathroom stops, you wouldn’t give out Band-Aids or give children rides. Also an adult does not have to be home at all times. All people in the home must know and understand what a McGruff house is.

Lakeview Neighborhood Watch Organization (elections were held):
President: Lawrence Law
Vice Pres.: Chris Medina
Secretary: Deena Lane

The election cycle is every 2 years in September. Elections will be held this year, so those elected will be in office until September.

Each district had there own separate meeting where District leaders were named.
NW District:
Leader: Christina Dunn
Assistant: Herb Greer
Secretary: Jason Dunn

I do not know about the other districts. You would need to contact Lawrence Law to find out.

Where we go from here - The District leaders will meet and get some training. They will get back to their districts and get people to actually go on patrol. Then late next month (April) there is going to be a training for all those that would like to be a part of the neighborhood watch (patrol) and what your responsibilities will be, etc. So for now, I guess we wait until we hear more from our district leaders.

Thank you so much to everyone who has come together to make this possible and to those who will help in the future to make and keep our neighborhood great!!!

District Pictures (you can click on picture to enlarge it):

North District:

Northwest District:

Southwest District:

East District:
Central District:

South District:

I keep having problems everytime I send out a neighborhood email. Both my gmail and hotmail accounts don't like the amount of emails going in and out and I'm too cheap to upgrade to a paid subscription. So I am trying something new. I will send emails out via a google group. Please join if you like getting this type of neighborhood information. I set it to our neighborhood only and it might ask you what is your address. Sorry, I've not figured it all out yet!

Google Groups
Subscribe to My Lakeview Neighborhood


Visit this group

1 comment:

Klin said...

Mobile watch depends on solid numbers of trained people and there is a minimum number required in order to get a mobile watch set up. Neighborhood watch should involve everyone.

I just moved from lakewood neighborhood where I served as the neighborhood chair for several years. I wrote the grant for their mobile watch. So I can help if needed for Lakeview when the time comes.

I have known for at least 5 years that gang members were hanging out at the Provo mall and for the last 2 - 3 years there have been many gang wars on that property. Usually on the weekend nights.