Sunday, January 25, 2009

PART I: Locating existing NW groups

Cal Poly student Anduhrew (check out his blog) asked, "Are people in north and central pomona extending some help out to south pomona? I know south pomona needs tons of help. I'd like to start a neighborhood watch on my block, but being a self sufficient student takes too much time."

Great questions. And great fodder for a couple posts about starting and sustaining Neighborhood Watch groups. Over the next couple days, I'll post about how to start a new watch groups, the time involved in serving as a Block Captain (i.e., organizing a watch group), and other ways of biting crime and building community in neighborhoods without NW groups. Alas, the person-replicator I ordered never arrived, so I'll necessarily write from my own perspective; I hope others will share their insights. With that disclaimer in place, let's turn to a question implied by Anduhrew's comment:

How does one locate existing NW groups?

Before initiating a new NW group, it is worth checking around in hopes of finding a nearby -- and, if you're lucky, active -- watch group. (Although I do get a kick out of the very retro NW signs posted in some neighborhoods, I interpret such dinosaurs as signaling a less-than-active watch group; I have no data to back up this claim.)

If the group is really near by, it might be possible to join forces. The other group likely has a meeting place, a meeting schedule, contact lists, etc. Perhaps all one would need to do is pass out the fliers (which the police department can generate and duplicate) to those living on the "new" street. At the very least, I imagine any existing NW group would welcome a new comer to at least a couple meetings to get a sense of how that group's meetings tend to unfold, the kinds of issues and concerns people generally talk about, and the camaraderie of the group.

So, where do you find these groups?

Idea 1: Call the Pomona Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit. (909) 620-2318. After you give your address, the CPU will be able to tell you who serves as the Crime Prevention Specialist (CPS) for your area. Ask your CPS to help you identify the nearest and/or most active watch group in your area. If you're interested in speaking with the Block Captain, ask the CPS if she or he can put you in touch.

Idea 2: Attend the SARA meetings for NW peeps. "What is SARA," you may ask? SARA stands for Survey, Analyze, Respond, Assess. These meetings, which are hosted by the Police Department, are like a community-wide NW meeting. The officers share information, hear concerns, and provide follow-up to questions and issues that emerged in previous meetings. (You can find a rundown of the last SARA meeting at the M-M-M-My Pomona Blog). SARA meetings are held at 7 PM on the second Tuesday of the month in the chambers of the Pomona City Council (near the library). The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 10 at 7 PM.

When you arrive to the meeting, consider letting the facilitator know you are looking to connect with watch groups from your area. Last month there were, I'm guessing, 26 people in attendance -- introduce yourself, ask questions.

1 comment:

  1. thank you for the 411! i'll be checkin' back for as much info as possible!