Jul 31, 2014 8:17 PM
Redding Police Chief Robert Paoletti's town hall meeting drew hundreds of people Wednesday night -- all looking to find a solution to curb the crime rate.
One of the solutions the chief is proposing is for community members to set up or join a neighborhood watch program.
"Our neighborhood watch isn't a vigilante group, we are not citizen patrol...we are neighbors working together to be eyes and ears of the police department."
In other words, a neighborhood watch group doesn't confront suspicious activity -- they report it.
"One good tool is a website called 'Next Door' -- it allows users to set up a communications base for a specific geological area and post within that..."
Leonard says over the last two years there have been 24 newly formed neighborhood watch groups in Redding -- and that classic warning sign is working to deter some criminal activity.
"We've talked to criminals in the past who said the signs made a difference to them, and some say they don't notice them..."
To start your own neighborhood watch group you'll have to contact Community Service Officer Leonard through RPD's website.
"I'll give you the information and if you're still interested, I'll set up a meeting to do a presentation...we discuss how important lighting is, documenting property, and we also cover alarm systems."
The neighborhood watch program isn't a perfect system though --
"One thing it doesn't address well is if the problem is internal...if your neighbors are having loud parties or selling drugs...this program isn't designed for that."
Leonard says the main purpose of the program is to help protect your property from being stolen and keep outside problems from coming in."
"We encourage groups to have follow-up parties to re-establish communication and know who is in the neighborhood so you know who doesn't belong..."
Police say the key tool to a successful neighborhood watch program is to have a strong communication setup -- the faster you can spread information, the less likely you'll have suspicious activity knocking at your door.