Why Do We Need Watch Patrols in our Neighborhood?
by Bev Clarke, Patrol Captain
Our Military Park Resident's Association Watch Patrol is designed to add to the security of the people and property of all legal residents in our neighborhood. Our neighbors may be renting, be paying on a mortgage--or already own their home. We recognize all as our neighbors and we are happy to assist any of them as we patrol our neighborhood. Each patrol must include a driver and a "sidekick". Both people must be members (have paid dues and be over 18 years of age) and must have attended one training session sponsored by the OKC Police. Our training sessions occur at Hefner Park Briefing Station, at 3924 NW 122nd, Oklahoma City, OK. Sgt. Charley Epperley is the COmmunity Relations Officer who conducts this training. The next training session is Tuesday evening October 25 at 7 to 8 p.m.
We cannot substitute for police patrols--but we can augment them--serve as extra eyes and ears as we drive through the neighborhood. We are taught to use our cell phone to call 911 when we see something that warrants actual action by police. Actually, every citizen is similarly free to make such a call. Our very best protection in our homes will typically be that of a friendly neighbor who notices something unusual across the street when they pick up their morning paper or start to go to their car on their way to work or as they return home. A neighbor can best identify their neighbors and sometimes can even know when a different car belongs to a relative--not a thief.
Those in our patrol enjoy getting to recognize our neighbors--we like to wave--and enjoy getting a wave in return. As we drive by, we cannot help but notice people who are improviing their property--perhaps adding a coat of paint, repairing a fence, or cutting down overgrown bushes--or even just mowing their property. We cannot help but smiile when we see our neighbors making improvements, or planting flowers. We smile and may even give a brief honk to say "howdy". We love to get a smile or wave in return! We are not indifferent to homes that appear abandoned--whose grass has been allowed to grow beyond the 12" height limit of the city ordiinance. Each neighbor has the right to be diisapointed at deterioration in our neighbors homes or yards--but complaints about that are not the function of our watch patrols or our organization. These complaints may, of course, be pursued by anyone in our neighborhood--but they are not the function of our watch patrols. We cannot deprive our members or neighbors of their rights as individuals to complain about ignored city ordinances--but our watch patrols are not focused on complaints--we patrol for two major reasons--to increase the security of our neighborhood from crime--and to build rappot with all our neighbors.
City ordinances permit any resident to contact Action Line and have homeowners notified of complaints. But such action-line complaints are not undertaken by our patrols or our Military Park Residents Association as a group. Our patrols are focused on the security of our residents and our neighborhood. We may smile when we see people walking their dogs in the neighborhood--such people even serve as extra pairs of eyes to help protect our neighborhood! And if they carry bags or pooperscoopers--we may especially smile at their consideration for the homeowners along their route, but we are not making notes to make complaints or calli 911 unless we see real danger--animials attacking people, or people attacking people or property. As citizens, each of us has the right to call action line expressing our concern to proper authorities about actions of our neighbors or visitors. If neighbors are speeding, this is a matter for the police---and we may call 911 to protect residents in our neighborhood,. As members of the watch patrol--we cannot accept assignment to: (1) recover lost dogs--although we can watch for a certain breed of dog, and call the owner who has asked for our help when we see it on a nearby street, (2) tell a homeowner having a party to reduce the sound on their loud speaker--better that the neighbor living nearby make that request--or call 911 and ask the police to intervene. (3) Stop to tell a neighbor they should improve their property. As residents of our neighborhood, we care about all components of life in our neighborhood. But our focus with our patrols aim at serious matters that threaten the security of our neighborhood--not just matters of improvement. We want to deter thieves whether they want to steal a car, trailer, bicycle, or household or yard property. We'd like to deter thieves from kidnapping a neighborhood child--or entering a home to take jewelry, special collections, money, or other possessions. We'd like to deter those who might be willing to wield a weapon--including those who might injure people by speeding, ignoring stop signs, or just take out their frustrations on neighbors or family members. We hope we can deter those things, just by being seen patroling nearby--but we will call 911 when we witness someone being attacked by a person or an animal, or someone placing a TV in the back of a truck who we do not recognize as living at that house, or a child being bitten by a neighbor's dog.
If you like our policies and want to help--please join our patrol. Remember, 4 hours of patroling will guarantee you a gas card for $20.00 worth of gas at 7-11. One hour each week will earn you a free gas card each month (assuming 4 days a month of patroling). If you need the help of a patrol --perhaps wanting us to watch for a particular lost animal or child or elderly grandparent--let us know--call me, as patrol captain at 525-7887--=I can pass the word to the closest patrol. Until we have more patrols, however, we are handicapped. We'd love to have teams that patrol one hour every monring and every evening--7 days a week. If you care about the security of your property and your family--why not join us in patroling our neighborhood?