Yesterday I had the privilege of attending “Block Captain’s Training” /Neighborhood Watch Training at City Hall East.
The facilitator is Director Juanita Mention-Smith. The training is a joint effort between Councilwoman Cleta Winslow and the Community Service Unit of the Atlanta Police Department. While I will not bore you with the many raw details and discussions various community neighbors and leaders had- it was very clear that many of our city neighborhoods are in need of healing. I think this is known and the efforts of the Police Department and Councilwoman to bring us together and provide a foundation for us to begin is commendable.
Firstly, it was good to see the many ethnicities and a wide age group of people who showed up on a Saturday morning with the agenda of “taking back” their neighborhood and putting a stop to violent crimes and the drugs. Some of the name tags I saw were of people from; Summer hill, Mechanicsville, East Atlanta, Vine City, Mosley Park, and of course Historic West End represented- some known residents Vonda Henry and John Pavlin…
Secondly, the session was VERY informative.
And lastly, the session was conducted very well. We were provided with a light breakfast, and a nice lunch. The director made sure we stayed on time, while answering AS MANY questions asked…AND listening to MANY complainants about the APD, posing as a question. I applauded her patience; while I tried to refrain myself from screaming “We are not hear to listen to what your association is not doing….” As I said, it was a very interesting class. While I do understand, that all neighborhoods have somethings that all will not agree on…the session made me appreciate MY neighborhood and the association even more. I can’t speak for everyone here, but the way I see it, we pretty much are all striving for the same thing in one form or another. Safety, historical & architectural preservation, property value appreciation, community involvement, and caring neighbors.
The below information is partially taken from our Neighborhood Watch handbook and is provided to be informative for those interested in learning a little more about Neighborhood Watch.
What a Neighborhood Watch is…….
Just when I thought it was an opportunity for me to walk up and down the street bossing people around 🙂 We were given the correct meaning of what a neighborhood watch really is:
1)“A Program of mutual assistance among neighbors aimed at reducing crime in our communities at the grass roots level. A neighborhood is where people are alert to the potential of crime and are willing to lookout for one another’s interests in a neigborhood where crimes are least likely to occur.”
2)” An invitation to you to be a good neighbor. Good neighbors working together through Neighborhood Watch can prevent crimes in their area the most effective way-before it starts!”
3)“A Crime Prevention Program which enlists the active participation of citizens in cooperation with law enforcement to reduce crime in their communities.”
4)“Citizens being trained to recognize and report suspicious and criminal activties in their neighborhoods such as burglary, larceny, vandalism and littering.”
First thing first- Get to know your neighbors!!!!! And as our facilitator said, don’t mind being considered that nosy neighbor- you will be thanked later!
Do not leave your porch light on during the day- invest in a timer to automatically turn it on. While you’re at work this is a sign that there is no one home-and probably no one coming home until after dark.