Problematic Behavior Or Activity
Neighborhood parks were being vandalized and destroyed by homeless people and others.
In addition to the financial impact of damage to the parks, the public was afraid to use the parks because the offenders were intimidating, harassing, and threatening. The public did not feel safe for themselves or their children.
Within six months, the number of incidents increased greatly at neighborhood parks. For instance, Ralston Park went from 2 incidents in January to 31 in June 2015; River Park went from 6 incidents in January to 23 in June of 2015.
Park Watch operates like Neighborhood Watch. There are captains for each park and teams are trained to be the eyes and ears for the police department and report suspicious circumstances to the police. We are in the beginning stages of this program at this time.
Based On Research
It is based on National Neighborhood Watch Programs.
Costs included the staff time needed to put the program together and implement it. The community is helping to absorb the cost by sponsoring the shirts, etc., needed to advertise the program.
This program has started to send a message to those who are coming into our parks that such behavior will not be tolerated.
Critical Success Factors
Community involvement and partnership are key to this program being successful.
This appears to be a rarity in law enforcement to have a structured program like this. It’s a great buy-in for the community and for police partnerships.