About 25 residents came to the neighborhood patrol training last night with John Luther, head of the program in Barton Hills. John, thank you so much! Special thanks to District Representative Officer Troy Schouest, who was present as well to explain how APD’s “Citizens on Patrol” (COPS) program is run and answer questions. The main difference is that APD’s program involves 8 hours of training and a background check, whereas what John Luther is doing in Barton Hills requires his 1 hour training along with continued supervision by Mr. Luther. Officer Schouset commended the Barton Hills program and said APD has no problem with this kind of citizen led activity as long as the number one priority is keeping volunteers safe. Both programs follow the strict guidelines that volunteer patrols do not get out of their cars and no weapons are allowed. The key is to look for suspicious activity and call 911. Let me know if you are interested in the COPS program because we can have a training at a location in Allandale.
Barton Hills does targeted day time patrols when burglaries of homes are highest, as well as night time patrols when burglaries from vehicles are often committed. Allandale will start with daytime patrols and move to night at a later time. Each volunteer in Barton Hills does a 1 hour shift at least 2 times a
month, and Mr. Luther noted that 1x/week per volunteer is best. Benefits in Barton Hills have also included
eliminating people from making rolling stops at target stop signs. Just the presence of the vehicle with
magnetic neighborhood patrols signs on the sides has made a big difference. Barton Hills now owns 12 signs, but they started with just 2. Each sign is about $35. The Allandale Neighborhood Association has agreed to purchase a set of signs, but with donations from neighbors we will be able to purchase more to make sharing them among the volunteer patrols easier. Since starting the patrols at the beginning of January, Barton Hills has had ZERO burglaries from homes or cars! They had 7-8 per month in 2009.
Mr. Luther also noted that using 3 inch screws in doors virtually eliminates kick-ins. The 1 – 2 inch screws in most doors can be kicked in with 1-3 kicks and once inside the burglar can close the door, take as much as he can get, and no one can tell there was forced entry. Three inch screws require 15 kicks or so to enter, drastically lowering the chance that a burglar will even attempt to kick it in. Officer Schouest called this “hardening the target.” The cost of getting the 3inch bolts – just 98 cents!
Please contact me if you have questions, comments, want to donate money for the signs, and/or want to be a neighborhood patrol or help coordinate the group. I'll be sending out an e-mail to those who came last night (or asked to be included) so that we can get started.
-help getting an Allandale map made with "hot spots" noted (need to analyze crime data to figure out where we need to patrol most)and make the map
-investigating a local place to have over the car signs made (like the pizza delivery guys have).
Thanks – sorry for the long post!
Allandale Neighborhood Watch Coordinator
lhdicarlo [Email address: lhdicarlo #AT# yahoo.com - replace #AT# with @ ]