To measure the true success of any program, you have to take a look at its long-term effects. This is very true when you start making comparisons regarding crime trends. Far too often, we become impatient for a “quick-fix.”
There are no quick fixes in crime reduction; only good, solid, determined and consistent police work assisted by the citizens we strive to serve.
No program supports the partnership concept between citizens and police more than the Dallas Police Department’s Crime Watch Program. Currently more than 850 neighborhood programs exist in Dallas.
The program is simple – neighbors helping their neighbors. Residents organize and join together with the sole intention of watching out for each other’s property and well-being.
You can become as active as your schedule allows. Through a new program we call VIP (Volunteers on Patrol), many members “patrol” their neighborhoods watching for suspicious activity to report to the police. Others simply keep an eye on their neighborhood when they are out taking a walk, picking up the mail or by watching out the window while sitting at home.
As a resident of Northeast Dallas, I have had the opportunity to meet with many of the volunteers. Their commitment of caring is what makes the program work – whatever the extent of involvement.
In 1988, there were 30,282 residential burglaries reported in Dallas. By the end of 1992, with the assistance of Crime Watch volunteers, residential burglaries totaled only 17,895.
This five-year drop exceeded 40 percent. And the trend continues into 1993. Through October, we have reported 3,143 fewer residential burglaries than in 1992.
This significant reduction in residential burglaries has occurred because of a partnership between police and citizens. The law enforcement community cannot be effective in crime prevention or enforcement without the assistance of the citizens we serve.
The system under which we live is based on voluntary compliance by all citizens. When we stray from that compliance, you call on the police for enforcement.
Unfortunately, enforcement is not the sole, long-term solution. Enforcement occurs after the fact, and after someone, possibly a neighbor, has become a crime victim. The long-term solution is prevention.
Prevention is the element that makes the community/police partnership so important. Working together as partners, we can make a difference in the quality of life in our neighborhoods and city. You not only help yourself, you help your neighbors, and you help the police.
The more time we have, the more time we can direct to community oriented policing programs and crime prevention efforts.
I urge you to get involved in our neighborhood Crime Watch program. If there isn’t one in your neighborhood – start one. Get to know your neighbors and the officers who work in your neighborhood. Everyone benefits from this partnership.
We will be happy to assist you in becoming a Crime Watch participant. Call 670-4427 for information.