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. There are many times when active Block Watches are involved in the observation and reporting of crimes in progress which lead to an arrest.
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 observation and reporting of suspicious behavior is a key component as you know your neighborhood better than anyone else. Block Watch is not a hands on program, there is no apprehending of people for any reason.

Several years ago an active Block Watch was having an issue with packages being stolen from the doorsteps of the neighborhood. This is not an uncommon problem, especially during the holidays. They started out by communicating with their assigned Community Action Officer to validate the stories they had been hearing about the thefts. This information was provided through the Block Watch communication they had organized which was an email tree of all involved residents in their area. It didn’t contain any specific information on suspects as there wasn’t but just a general “please be on the lookout” statement. A few days later an observant resident of the Block Watch was working from home and observed a UPS truck deliver a package to her neighbor’s door. Right after the UPS truck had left, a truck with two occupants stopped at the neighbor’s house and one of the suspects stole the package. The resident called 911 and gave a description as best as she could of the truck and suspects. Responding officers found the suspect truck a short distance away, stopped it and found several stolen UPS packages in it. The suspects were arrested and further follow up resulted in more stolen property being recovered at their house.

This was all accomplished because of an observant neighbor / Block Watch member. The program does work and by both being observant and practicing common sense crime prevention techniques we teach as part of Block Watch, your neighborhood safety can also be improved.

Another program which involves partnering with the Phoenix Police Department and helping to improve your neighborhood is the Phoenix Neighborhood Patrol Program. This program allows residents to become more actively involved as partners in crime prevention. The Phoenix Neighborhood Patrol Program began in 1994 as Block Watchers on Patrol and was associated with the Block Watch McGruff logo. By 2004, they spent over 26,000 hours and traveled 77,490 miles assisting the police officers of the City of Phoenix Police Department by driving through their neighborhoods and watching for suspicious criminal behavior, fights, traffic problems, stolen vehicles, and missing persons. In 1999 the program adopted the name of Phoenix Neighborhood Patrol and its new logo. We have had the opportunity and privilege of training over 1500 citizens in observation skills, criminal codes, police procedures, and drug recognition through non- confrontational methods. Phoenix Neighborhood Patrol participants are citizens, not police officers or police department volunteers. They have no powers of arrest beyond that of any private citizen. They are trained for observation purposes only and participate for benefit of their community or neighborhood.

After the following qualifications are met, a background check will be completed. This process will include a check for warrants and any criminal record. Persons listed as suspects or investigative leads on police reports will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Final approval for participation in the Phoenix Neighborhood Patrol program will be at the discretion of the Patrol Division Assistant Chief of Police.

Qualifications
•  Reside in the City of Phoenix
•  Be at least 18 years of age
•  Possess a valid driver license or Arizona identification card
•  Complete mandatory Phoenix Neighborhood Patrol training.

Disqualifying conditions:
•  Felony convictions within the past 60 months (from time of application)
•  Any pending criminal charges
•  Conviction for child molestation
•  Registered as a sex offender
•  Adjudicated by the courts to be mentally incompetent

One last program which showcases our Community Based Policing philosophy is the Citizens Police Academy. The Phoenix Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy (CPA) began in April 1986 with the intent to provide business and community leaders an inside look at law enforcement. That concept still stands today with over 75 Citizens Police Academies having been completed and hundreds of citizens having learned “what we do, and why we do it.” Applicants must be 21 years of age or older, live and/or work in the City of Phoenix, must pass a required background check, commit to all dates of each academy session, and must be referred by a former CPA participant or member of the Phoenix Police Department. A variety of topics may be offered during each academy experience to include: deadly force encounters, drug enforcement and gangs, firearms and decision-making, tactical training, internet crimes, police ethics and professional standards, 9-1-1, crime lab, air support and K9 unit, an overview of investigations surrounding homicides, document crimes, robberies, crimes against children, and demonstrations/equipment displays by the department’s Special Assignments Unit.
If anyone has any questions about Block Watch, Phoenix Neighborhood Patrol Program or anything else I can help you with, please feel free to contact me at tim.mitten@phoenix.gov or at 602-495-5238. Thank you for your continued support and partnership with the Phoenix Police Department.

Officer Tim Mitten
Community Action Officer

Phoenix Police Department Black Mountain Precinct