The difference between the non-violent crime of a home burglary and what becomes a violent crime such as robbery, home invasion or even murder is simply timing. Are you at home when the burglar enters, or not?
Pinecrest residents are rightly concerned about what we know is the most common criminal event in our community — home and auto burglary. As the bank robber said when asked why he robbed banks – “that’s where the money is.” The same is true for Pinecrest in the eyes of criminal parasites.
Our Village police officers do a fantastic job every day regarding community vigilance and response times, but they can’t be everywhere at all times. Neighborhood Watch participation and vigilance of your home surroundings is a simple and effective solution that acts as both a deterrent to events and a tool to resolve criminal mischief when it does occur.
Over the past four years, Village police have created an effective Neighborhood Crime Watch program, which is presently under the leadership of Sgt. Mike Gorsline with the help of citizen leaders like Susan Randal and Rebecca Watford. In the past year alone there has been an increase from six to 16 watches, with seven new ones being chartered this fall. In addition, in 2012 Pinecrest Police leadership employed a special unit called a Crime Suppression Team with a primary responsibility of combating residential and vehicle burglary trends.
Clearly as a result of both citizen and police focus on burglaries, there has been a substantial statistical decrease in home and auto burglaries throughout Pinecrest since 2012. Last year alone the decrease was 26 percent and 46 percent on residential and home burglaries respectively. Crime has in fact been reduced because of a simple program designed around neighbors being willing to keep an eye out for each other by being observant and having a willingness to use a phone. Those parts of the community without watch protocols are clearly more vulnerable. While many residents of our community value their privacy, wishing to be fairly anonymous, it really doesn’t take much to be attentive in protecting yours and your neighbor’s property and safety.
The idea of the watch is neighbors being observant of their home surroundings, and that they have a means of communicating with each other and with law enforcement when needed. Some simple but effective tips used in the Neighborhood Watch program include:
• Know the names and faces of your neighbors on all sides of your home (including the children).
• Be familiar with the cars your neighbors drive.
• Be aware of your neighbor’s landscaper, pool cleaner and housekeeper if they use a regular service.
• Don’t ignore a neighbor’s burglar alarm and presume that it sounded in error; make a phone call to the neighbor or police.
If you are not a part of a Neighborhood Watch and you would like to get involved with one that may exist on your street or if you would like to take a role in developing a new Watch where none exists, contact the Pinecrest Police Department at 305-234-2100 or go to firstname.lastname@example.org