Spring Crime Prevention/Block Watch

Prevent Crime

This time of year brings on many changes, the plants awaken and bloom, allergy season rears its ugly head, the kids start thinking of summertime instead of schoolwork, and families will start taking vacations away from home. That of course might lead to increased opportunities for someone to commit a theft or even burglarize your home. While no crime prevention tips are 100%, there are some simple and common-sense methods you can take to reduce your chances of becoming a victim and eliminate opportunities for thieves to steal from you. It is these easy targets that thieves look for since they carry low risk and potentially have high rewards.

Safety Tips 

1. Lock all your doors and windows. At the minimum ensure that the front door has a good deadbolt lock, 3-inch screws in the hinges and strike plate, and a peephole.  If you can afford it, get a security door and make sure it is properly installed.
2. Put a lock on your side yard gate or any gates that lead to the backyard. Eliminating access to an area of your house that watchful neighbors can’t see suspicious people around helps reduce your chances. If you have service personnel who use the gate, make sure it is locked immediately after they leave.
3. Keep your garage door closed always, even if you are just inside for a short time.  It does not take long for someone to enter your garage and grab items from inside your car or garage and leave. It is easy to get distracted when unloading kids, groceries, etc but take a few extra seconds to make sure the door closes all the way when you leave and when you arrive home.
4. Put your vehicles in the garage. If you must park in the driveway or outside, lock the doors and have windows rolled up all the way. Do not leave any valuables inside car or even bags that look like they may have something of value inside them, this is an easy opportunity for someone walking or biking by to break in.
5. Leave your front door and exterior garage lights on all night, from sundown to sunrise.  Get a timer or timer switch if unable to remember or for out of town trips
6. If an unknown person comes to the door, do not open the door, talk through the door and ask what they want. If they persist on you opening the door or refuse to leave, call police. Do not ignore the knock or doorbell ring.

  1. No one knows your neighborhood better than you so be watchful of your surroundings and watch out for each other in your neighborhoods. Having an involved and watchful neighborhood is one of the most important crime prevention methods around. Get to know your next door and neighbors across the street and exchange at least phone numbers or email addresses so you may keep each other informed of absences on trips. Report to Crime Stop at 602-262-6151 any suspicious behavior or 911 for crimes in progress.
  2. If you are going to be out of town for any length of time, please contact the Black Mountain Precinct at 602-495-5002 and ask for a vacation watch. This will allow the officers who work the area to check on your house while you are gone.

Block Watch
Another way to help prevent crime anytime of the year is to have a Block Watch. The Phoenix Police Department has a variety of programs that partner with the community to help prevent crime and the flagship of those programs is Block Watch. The Desert Ridge Community Association supports Block Watch start ups by providing some funds to have food and nonalcoholic beverages for your meeting. Please contact the DRCA Office for information on that program.

Block Watch is basically neighbors watching out for others in their neighborhood to deter crime and using common sense crime prevention methods to reduce crime. During Block Watch you get acquainted with your neighbors, work together to identify problems in the area and help the Phoenix Police Department by being aware and reporting suspicious behavior. The police department will help you by teaching some crime prevention techniques and being there as your liaison to support your neighborhood. Block Watch is not a hands-on program, there is no apprehending of people for any reason.

To get started in Block Watch first gauge interest by talking to some of your neighbors. Keep the area manageable by concentrating on just one street in each direction from your house. Then contact me and we can plan the date and time of the initial presentation. It is best to have someone in the neighborhood host the Block Watch as it fosters community involvement and the presentation usually last about 90 minutes depending on questions.

Block Watch does not require frequent meetings and it works best with several people involved in the organization and running of the Block Watch. I will help you get registered and answer any questions throughout the whole process and beyond. There are other organizations in the Black Mountain Precinct like the Black Mountain Community Alliance which helps Block Watches maintain, grow and provide educational opportunities for the neighborhoods involved.
If I can be of further assistance, please fell free to contact me at 602-495-5238 or at tim.mitten@phoenix.gov. Thanks again for being involved in your community and partnering with the Phoenix Police Department to help improve the quality of life and safety of your neighborhood.