SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
In an effort to help Tierra Vista Communities residents feel a little more secure, the 50th Security Forces Squadron is building a Neighborhood Watch program here.
“It’s just another layer of protection for our neighborhood,” said Holly Jones, 50 SFS investigator. “We want to make sure everybody is taken care of.”
Initially, the Neighborhood Watch will consist of three two-man teams. The program officially rolled out in April, but 50 SFS has been waiting to solicit volunteers to ensure consistency.
“We were waiting for (permanent change of station) season to slow down so we know these people are going to be here,” Jones said.
People interested in volunteering for the program will be able to sign-up during the National Night Out event 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the TVC community center Sept. 21. The annual event seems an appropriate venue to solicit volunteers for the Neighborhood Watch program.
“(The event) is meant to increase awareness about police programs in communities, such as drug prevention, town watch, Neighborhood Watch and other anti-crime efforts,” Jones said.
The Neighborhood Watch teams will offer another set of eyes and ears for housing residents and also assist 50 SFS with patrols.
“Our patrols can’t be everywhere, all the time,” said Staff Sgt. Steven McCoy, 50 SFS. “There’s a lot of base to cover, a lot of open area (we) have to pay attention to. By having neighbors helping out their neighbors, it just affords people more security.”
The base’s diverse population helped spur the creation of the program as well.
“We have Army, we have contractors, we have retirees and then (our) Air Force families,” Jones said.
One of the expectations for the program is to help build the relationship between diverse housing residents and 50 SFS.
“Our relationship as cops with the community needs to be very strong,” Jones said. “We want to know our people and we want to make sure that they know we’re doing everything we can to make sure this is a safe community.”
Watch teams will undergo training, which will help them identify when they need to make a report, and stress it’s not the Neighborhood Watch volunteers who engage.
“We don’t want you to be a vigilante,” Jones said. “We want you to report, but do it in a professional way.”
McCoy said he hopes the presence of the block watchers, what the volunteers are tentatively being called, will help other housing members overcome any hesitancy to report something if they think it is suspicious.
“We’d rather have somebody call something in if it looks suspicious and it be nothing, than somebody not call anything in that looked minor but ends up being something huge,” he said.
“I think there’s a lot of stigma with when you see something, (and you ask), ‘Do I say something or do I not say something,” Jones added.
Neighborhood Watch is a national program launched in 1972 and sponsored by the National Sheriff’s Association. The program “counts on citizens to organize themselves and work with law enforcement to keep a trained eye and ear on their communities,” according to the National Crime Prevention Council.
Residents should still call 911 for emergencies (or 567-3911 if using their home or cell phone). For non-emergencies, members may call the LE Desk at 567-5642, Crime Stoppers at 567-5643, Police Services at 567-5830 or Investigations at 567-5972.