The Cottonwood Heights Police Department works in conjuction with the Cottonwood Heights Neighborhood Watch to create a safer community for all residents. Help your community by getting involved. Contact Police Support Specialist Sheila Jennings at 801-944-7032 for more information about how to start Neighborhood Watch in your area. Check out their website at www.CHNeighborhoodWatch.com. Cottonwood Heights Neightborhood Watch is also on Facebook:
Neighborhood Watch holds training meetings regularly. Check the calendar for dates and information.
Communication is key to successful neighborhood watch
By Carolyn Wold
We had several suspicious incidents in our neighborhood during January. An individual, leaving two people in the back seat of their car, approached a neighbor’s home during the day and asked if a certain person lived in the house. My neighbor didn’t recognize the name even though the visitor was quite insistent. My neighbor called me, the Neighborhood Watch Captain, first asking if I recognized the name as a possible past neighbor and also letting me know that they had felt uncomfortable and slightly suspicious.
A few days later, another neighbor on a nearby street had a knock on the door at 10 p.m. on a Sunday evening. It turned out to be the same person. This neighbor, unbeknownst to the first neighbor, also called me to ask if I knew the name and also to talk about the uncomfortable incident.
Both neighbors had been trained in neighborhood watch and gave me good, detailed descriptions. I realized it was the same individual with the same car parked on the street and two people in the back seat. Each time, my neighbors were asked if they knew a particular person who was supposed to be living in the house. The person inquiring was insistent.
After the second incident, I felt this was suspicious activity. In prior trainings and gatherings, I had collected the email addresses of my neighbors. I e-mailed the entire neighborhood with a description of the car and a review of what had happened. Because of the e-mail, it was brought to my attention that this same car had been seen three other times in the area and the person had approached one other home. As individual incidents none of them appeared suspicious, but when reports kept coming in throughout the month, it was clear that our homes were being watched by the same individuals. The next time the vehicle was spotted, the police were contacted. The car left before the police arrived. Even though these people were never caught and questioned, communication and awareness were key in the prevention of a possible crime.
Many of my neighbors had participated in the basic Neighborhood Watch Training Program offered by our Cottonwood Heights Police Department. This training was essential. I had planned ahead by collecting email addresses and was able to quickly communicate with my neighbors. My neighbors knew what to do. They recognized what made them uncomfortable, they carefully observed, they called me, and then neighbors called the police after recognizing a suspicious pattern.
Remember: get to know your neighbors and communicate!