Published in The BANAR November 2021
by Don Kelly & Brad Hampson
The value of Blackburn’s Neighborhood Watch program revealed itself recently on one of our Hamlet streets, when multiple overnight crimes (thefts from vehicles in driveways) occurred. When the block captain was queried the next morning, an immediate notification was sent to the 83% of the street residents who are signed up for Neighborhood Watch on this street. Other victims came forward, including a neighbor who had night vision video of a suspicious person and vehicle on the street at 3am.
The Neighborhood Watch block captain engaged all his members to immediately contact police, who now have leads for the follow-up investigation. The quick, decisive actions by these residents highlight the effectiveness of the Neighborhood Watch in assisting the police. Remember that reporting of suspicious activity, even if you believe insignificant, can provide valuable information to the police for proper intelligence-gathering, investigation, and dissemination to patrol officers and residents alike. This is crucial, and highlights why anything suspicious should be immediately reported to police.
As mentioned, this incident highlighted the value of motion-activated home security cameras that are now fairly inexpensive, and easy to set up outside, or indoors looking out through a window viewing the exterior front or back yard. Whenever the camera is activated by motion, notification settings by the owner can ensure they are made aware for viewing. While the camera may not prevent crime, a small investment can capture suspicious activities which can be shared afterwards with police. Many new cameras can capture images both day and night and are available for purchase online. Speak to a Neighborhood Watch block captain if you would like more information on this.
Our Neighborhood Watch program is alive and well in our community and has shown its value towards crime prevention. However, there are still many streets in the Hamlet where the Neighborhood Watch program is not represented. If you are interested in joining the program, notify the coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for help in starting the program on your street, or finding out if it already exists. Remember, protecting your community is protecting yourself. Safety and crime-prevention tips are available on the website at www.ottawapolice.ca.