By CHRIS AGEE
In conjunction with his advocacy of community policing, Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan has recently released information to assist in the formation of local Neighborhood Watches.
Sullivan addressed city council members last week, explaining the program will likely begin in earnest next spring, though he said he hopes to spark interest among locals in forming groups.
Describing a neighborhood watch program in Mineral Wells as the combined effort of residents, the MWPD and the city’s community resource officer, Cpl. Penny Judd to protect property and promote neighborhood safety.
Sullivan explained anyone interested in becoming involved should first contact Judd at (940) 328-7884 to determine if a group has already been formed in the neighborhood.
If a Neighborhood Watch already exists, authorities will provide the name and contact information of the watch captain; if not, the department will assist in its formation.
Though volunteers will receive support from local law enforcement, Sullivan noted individual groups are responsible for keeping the program active in their communities.
Before getting started, a potential watch captain should create a list of neighborhood issues to address, establish a means of communicating with neighboring residents, publicize an initial meeting place and time, provide a sign-up sheet for anyone interested in becoming block captains, and gather crime facts about the area.
Information about neighborhood crime can be found online at crimereports.com, Sullivan explained.
When a group is formed, he noted participants will be responsible for maintaining a watch of neighborhood activity as well as communicating regularly with officers and holding consistent meeting to discuss any new information.
Should a change in crime patterns emerge, authorities will offer prevention suggestions and potential warning signs.
Sullivan said Neighborhood Watch programs have been beneficial in countless communities by controlling and preventing residential crime. He said participation helps create safer neighborhoods and develop important partnerships with the MWPD.
The city provides each group with signs promoting the program and a quarterly newsletter offering crime prevention tips and other helpful information.