Sunday, June 4, 2017

Neighborhood watch programs in Altadena.

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Sunday June 4, 2017, 1:59 PM

LASD - Altadena Station, Los Angeles County Sheriff

Jim McDonnell, Sheriff
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Community: Neighborhood watch programs in Altadena.

Neighborhood Watch vs Association
You have probably seen a Neighborhood Watch street sign , notifying visitors that suspicious people and activities are reported to law enforcement. The term refers to a nationwide crime prevention initiative where citizen volunteers actively patrol their neighborhood for illegal activity.
The program, managed nationally by the National Sheriffs’ Association with help from the Department of Justice and local law enforcement, focuses on “eyes-and-ears” training for neighborhoods. Plus, signs posted around the neighborhood help deter would-be criminals. Communities involved in these programs work with our Sheriff's Stations, but we do not regulate or manage the program. We are there to provide assistance and can educate on how to recognize criminal activity, providing clear information to our station over the phone, and crime trends.
Neighborhood watch programs are created mainly around the concept of getting to know one’s neighbors. This helps in sharing information and become better equipped to look for signs of suspicious activity. They vary from one community to the next, but typically use one of two main approaches:
Opportunity Reduction: Use of observation to spot and eliminate potential opportunities for criminal activity and restore sense of community ownership
Social Problems: Use of educational programs and other activities to raise awareness and target the root causes of crime (such as drug awareness programs, tutoring, sports clubs, etc.)
For details on starting a program in your community, visit the National Sheriffs’ Association’s website.
Interactions with Law Enforcement
Neighborhood Watch programs typically have a leader or point of contact person who recruits volunteers; maintains a neighborhood map with addresses and landmarks; holds meetings; maintains files; and serves as the liaison with the Sheriff's Department. Going beyond being the eyes and ears of the community, however, can lead to conflicts and potentially lawsuits (stopping and questioning someone against their will, for example, can be considered false arrest). Indeed, taking someone into custody, even for just a moment, can be considered false imprisonment. Please call our station to report any criminal or suspicious activity, (626) 798-1131. Therefore, volunteers should not act as police and are limited to observing and reporting criminal activity or suspicious behavior.
Volunteers in neighborhoods known for violent crime or gang activity are often advised to keep a low profile and report incidents anonymously. Keeping a log of vehicles and persons can be helpful, but since neighborhood watch volunteers often are the first witnesses to a crime, they may be asked to testify in court.
Neighborhood watch programs are prevalent in the U.S. and, if implemented properly, can be a valuable tool in crime prevention.
A neighborhood association is a group of residents or property owners who advocate for or organize activities within a neighborhood. An association may have elected leaders and voluntary dues.
The term neighborhood association is sometimes incorrectly used instead of homeowners association (HOA). But neighborhood associations are not homeowners associations (HOA). An HOA is a group of property owners with the legal authority to enforce rules and regulations that focus on restrictions and building and safety issues. On the other hand, a neighborhood association is a group of neighbors and business owners who work together for changes and improvements such as neighborhood safety, beautification and social activities. They reinforce rules and regulations through education, peer pressure and by looking out for each other.
Here is a helpful link with the neighborhood watch groups in Altadena.

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