When Ed Fox retired from Dresser Industries, he decided not to just sit back, but to give back. And he didn’t have far to look for a good cause.
“Crime was of a concern in my neighborhood, so I volunteered for the Dallas Police Department neighborhood crime prevention program,” said Ed.
His first step was to help set up a crime watch program in his own neighborhood, the Prestonwood Estates West Neighborhood Association (PENA West). After the program was in place, it quickly succeeded. “The success was easy to determine, because every crime through 911 calls is reported,” said Ed, now a resident of The Tradition- Prestonwood independent living community. “We simply saw a dramatic decrease in 911 calls.”
" Crime was of a concern in my neighborhood, so I volunteered for the Dallas Police Department neighborhood crime prevention program."
Following the success in his own neighborhood, Ed Fox looked to help others. He subsequently assisted the police in setting up similar crime watch groups in thirty (30) other neighborhoods within the DPD North Central Division. As a result, he received the Citizen’s Certificate of Merit this year from Dallas Chief of Police David O. Brown. When asked what made the programs work, he said, “It’s boots on the ground. With the help of many volunteers and the Neighborhood Police Officers (NPO) Unit, we showed up at PTA meetings, churches and synagogues, even garden parties.
They then began to get calls to speak in various neighborhoods. Sometimes, there might be four or five in a kitchen, then it would grow. From there, a crime watch would be established in an individual neighborhood.
" It’s boots on the ground. With the help of many volunteers and the Neighborhood Police Officers (NPO) Unit, we showed up at PTA meetings, churches and synagogues, even garden parties."
What does a crime watch program consist of? According to Ed, it’s educating the neighborhood:
· If you see something suspicious – a car or a person – call 911, and know what to say.
· Know the person on the other side of the door before you open it.
· Clean up the neighborhood. If the area is sloppy, thieves think the security is sloppy.
· Keep lights on outside.
· Form a volunteer patrol with two in a car and drive the neighborhood.
To start your own crime watch, call your police station and talk to the NPO Unit.
According to Ed, the crime prevention program really boils down to one thing, “Watching out for each other.”
Tips To Vitalize a Volunteer Neighborhood Crime Watch Program:
1. Broadcast the crimes in your neighborhood so that people know there is crime occurring in your area. They often believe nothing is happening.
2. Broadcast and advertise all successes. Let them know they are part of something that is working, and they tend to join the program more easily.
3. Make your volunteers know that they count and are important. Tell them daily how much you appreciate their work, and let them have ownership of the program. It takes a team to build a successful program – not an individual.
4. Create a “social camaraderie.” It is much more fun to do things with your friends.
5. Make your general meetings prompt, no longer than an hour or hour and a half at most,worthy of their time and fun. Have one each month.
6. Have a board meeting once a month.
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