2012 Neighborhood Watch Awards of Excellence
Richland County, SC Sheriff’s Office
The Richland County Sheriff’s Office has over 384,000 residents and is responsible for more than 750 square miles. In 1998, the Sheriff created the Community Action Team (C.A.T.) with the mission to create partnerships with citizens who previously did not trust law enforcement. In the time since, they have organized over 275 Neighborhood and Business Watch organizations and constantly work to empower citizens. The C.A.T. attends community meetings, gathers information about special needs in neighborhoods, and serves as an important community liaison for the agency. Through this innovative approach the community and agency have developed multiple long-term solutions to specific crime problems. Recently, the agency is working to stay connected through mobile technology. The agency’s mobile app partnership is helping to encourage citizens to report emergency information via their Smartphone. Further, by providing Citizen Police Academies, building partnerships in the community, and working with watch groups enable the Sheriff’s Office to build a united partnership for public safety.
Lynchburg, VA Police Department
The Lynchburg Police Department’s mission is to preserve the peace and maintain order in the City. To facilitate this, the Department’s Crime Prevention Unit manages and promotes the strong connections created between citizens and law enforcement through the Neighborhood Watch Program. More than 40 active watch groups are throughout the city. The Unit also handles creating Business Watch groups and working with schools. Two main events that watch groups come together for in Lynchburg each year are the Lynchburg Night Out in September and an Annual Partnership Meeting held every March. Not to mention, multiple other smaller events throughout the year are organized by individual groups and community groups to help foster the important relationship between Police and citizens. Throughout the year, the agency offers educational presentations on topics such as Wild Animal Safety, Security Assessments, Target Hardening, Halloween and Holiday Safety. Quarterly the agency distributes a newsletter on seasonal tips to all watch group members. As a public service the agency partners with their local ABC station to feature bi-weekly safety information.
Anderson Township Community Outreach Network, OH
The Anderson Township Community Outreach Network is a group of community and county officials that work to build positive community relations via Neighborhood Watch Groups. Anderson Township has a population of 43,446 residents and a total area of 31.2 square miles. As a result of working with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office to have a “full-time” Crime Prevention Officer, the township went from having about 10 watch groups to now having 80 active groups. Those 80 groups relate to about one watch for every 543 residents in the community. The Network communicates daily via e-mail/phone with around 337 established community contacts (including 90 neighborhood watch contacts) on a variety of important topics such as tips on burglar prevention. Through the continued work of the watch groups, vandalism and car break-ins have stopped. The continuous support, promotion and belief in the watch program by community leaders have helped create a vital partnership with citizens to redevelop the township.
West Scranton Hyde Park Neighborhood Watch, PA
West Scranton Hyde Park Neighborhood Watch is composed of citizens committed to making a difference in their neighborhood. In 3 years the group has gone from beginnings to making a major community impact. Members help to design educational programs on lessening chances of victimization to topics such as substance abuse. They have organized community cleanup projects and built valuable partnerships with not only local law enforcement but multiple other government agencies. The group has worked on issues of trash pickup, street lighting, traffic control, community shredding, and blight issues. Recently, Chief Duffy presented the group with the City of Scranton “Part of the Solution” Award for their amazing efforts at single handedly transforming a City Park from a troubled area into a safe haven for local youth. Their efforts have benefited the residents in the area of West Scranton and serve as a reminder of how important it is to empower the people and the change that can happen. Further, the watch group helps to organize skateboard contests, basket ball games, outdoor movie events, and took an old non-functional playground and transformed it into a community garden. Chief Duffy said “without hesitation that this group is filled with positive energy and has motivated a community and an entire police agency.”