Neighbors getting to know each other keeps homes safe

3 Jun 2005 | Pfc. Drew W. Barker

Officials from the Provost Marshal’s Office are scheduled to host a Community Watch Program meeting for residents of Berkeley Manor and Watkins Village at the base theater June 13 at 6 p.m. The meeting will focus on enlisting the active participation of residents in cooperation with military police to reduce and prevent crime in their neighborhoods.

“It’s a great chance to help reduce crime in neighborhoods where service members and their families act as the eyes and ears of PMO,” said Staff Sgt. Rob Jadwin, physical security chief with Crime Resistance Unit, PMO, MCB.

The program focuses on discouraging criminals from preying on potentially vulnerable neighbors.

“The main goals of the program are to reduce and deter crime and to provide a more secure feeling for service members and their families, especially during these times of high deployment,” said retired Master Gunnery Sgt. James E. Harris, crime prevention clerk with Crime Resistance Unit.

These goals can only be achieved when citizen involvement is present to combat crime, because law enforcement officers are not always on every street corner. Citizens can protect themselves and their property by using common sense and community involvement, including getting to know neighbors, watching out for suspicious activity and reporting such things, according to Harris.

The Community Watch Program will be organized and run by members of the community with support from PMO, according to Jadwin.

The program does not involve active patrolling nor does it give any type of special authority to local residents. It does, however, empower them through community involvement according to Jadwin.

The program consists of members, block leaders, and the Community Watch committee.  Members are responsible to be familiar with area children and vehicles, and to report any unusual activity to Military Police.  Block leaders watch homes of people on leave and pass on concerns of their block’s members to the committee.  Committee members attend monthly meetings and inform community leaders and law enforcement of current happenings in order to maintain good communication and teamwork, according to the official Community Watch Program brochure.

“It’s really quite simple,” said Jadwin. “If you take an active role in your community, spend some time to get to know your neighbors, and keep an eye out for suspicious activity, the program works great.”

Provost Marshal’s Office also plans to hold meetings for Tarawa Terrace at 1800 on 27 June at the base theater, and for Midway Park at 1800 on 11 July at the Midway Park Theater, according to Jadwin.

“We hope to set up watch programs in all neighborhoods on base,” said Haris. “This is just the beginning of what could be a really great base-wide program.”