Block Watch – Available at Your Nearest Neighborhood C.O.P.S. Substation
Established in 1978 as part of a nationwide program, Spokane’s Block Watch has taken a unique direction. On January 1, 2000, it was added to the list of community crime prevention programs offered by Spokane C.O.P.S. (Community Oriented Policing Services), a non-profit organization established in support of Spokane’s citywide C.O.P.S. Substations. The move put Block Watch directly out into the neighborhoods, served by the volunteer force at C.O.P.S. area substations – C.O.P.S. BLOCK WATCH.
“Neighbor-to-neighbor” is the Block Watch motto. Neighbors knowing their neighbors is the best tool for fighting property crime. Together, neighbors share information about work and vacation schedules, behaviors, vehicles, and other events on their block. While 9-1-1 should be called for suspicious and emergency situations, C.O.P.S. Substation can help with non-emergency problems. You may also report to Crime Check at 456-2233.
- can help prevent and reduce residential burglaries and break-ins, drug/party houses, gang activity, vandalism, malicious mischief, graffiti, vehicle prowling and theft. Many such crimes, including increases in crimes against property and vehicle theft, are connected to increasing methamphetamine use. Since the September 11 tragedy has made drug trafficking difficult, dealers must now produce their drugs locally. The impact such crimes have on community resources affects us all. Participation in Block Watch is a wise choice, giving you an active role in your own ‘homeland security.’
- makes sense being located in your neighborhood C.O.P.S. Substation where your friends and neighbors are trained to help you. C.O.P.S. assists with phone trees, maps, printed materials and educational speakers for neighborhood meetings.
- is neighbor-to-neighbor link to disaster preparedness and emergency response services by being a partner of C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Teams). Other than crime prevention and emergency communications, all personal Block Watch information is held strictly confidential.
- represents an important grassroots connection to many crime prevention services and community resources, including: Neighborhood Observation Patrol (N.O.P.); Operation I.D.; Graffiti Report Team; Operation Family Identification Program; Bicycle Registration; Victim Contact Services; Property Pick-up; Crime Free Multi-Housing; and numerous other Partnership Programs.
Ask your local Spokane C.O.P.S. substation for more information about how to start a Block Watch.
Why Your Neighborhood C.O.P.S. Substation is a Natural Location for Block Watch
Block Watch makes sense being located right in the neighborhoods it serves, under the guidance of eligible C.O.P.S. trained volunteers – your own neighbors. The grassroots network created by your Block Watch provides a conduit for the delivery of many other crime reduction services now available at C.O.P.S. Substation.
It provides you with a direct community referral system and link to the Spokane Police Department (SPD). Each C.O.P.S. Substation has an NCO (Neighborhood Conditions Officer) assigned to it by SPD. NCOs carefully review “Communication Forms,” written reports taken at any substation front desk documenting an inquiry, suspicious activity, and other non-emergency or non-life-threatening situations. NCOs then prioritize and route their neighborhood reports to appropriate contacts in local government, other agencies or police.
The substation-based Block Watch program can capably provide crime prevention education opportunities specific to your block, its area interests and concerns. Block Watch Coordinators are available to assist committed Block Representatives (Block Watch Reps) with materials and qualified trainers for area meetings, as required.
Block Watch Coordinators are C.O.P.S. volunteers responsible for coordinating all Block Watch information, data and meetings in their substation neighborhood.
The Block Watch neighbor-to-neighbor network can be a critical grassroots link to effective disaster preparedness and emergency response services. Other than for these purposes, and those of maps used by specified Block Members, all personal information is held strictly confidential.
Block Watch can significantly help reduce crime, and the fear of crime, through community policing, available crime-prevention services, and neighborhood/ residential education. Neighbor-to-neighbor is the motto – neighbors who know who their neighbors are and make an effort to communicate with them. Together, neighbors can arrive at a mutual understanding regarding normal vehicles, schedules, behaviors and events on a given block. This, along with the support of other C.O.P.S. programs, empowers each neighbor in recognizing and reporting suspicious activity and crimes in progress. C.O.P.S. Substation handle hundreds of calls and questions from citizens needing help with various problems related to quality of life and the community policing of neighborhoods.
While the original focus and ongoing success of Block Watch is to help prevent and reduce residential burglaries and break-ins, its value has proven equally as great in dealing with such problems as; drug/party houses, gang activity, vandalism, malicious mischief and theft. For instance, citywide crime statistics based upon SPD calls for service and crime reports during year 2007 show; 5232 vehicle thefts/prowlings, 2334 burglaries and 274 robberies. Many such property crimes can be attributed (80-85%) to a drug problems in Spokane. The impact such crimes have on community resources affect us all – making participation in Block Watch a wise choice. Typically, households that practice crime prevention principles are four times less likely to have a burglary or break-in than a home that does not practice crime prevention principles.
How Do You Start A Block Watch?
All support services for Block Watch are provided by your nearest C.O.P.S. Substation.
Our goal is to help guide you through the process to a vital and successful interaction with your Block Watch neighbors.
Here is a summary of how to begin a Block Watch in your neighborhood:
- Get an application to become a Block Watch Representative from this link or go to your nearest C.O.P.S. Substation to pick one up.
- Contact your neighbors. Ask them if they would be interested in meeting. Your needs and interests should fit the uniqueness of your area and your neighbors. Stay flexible (meeting locations, frequency, topics, size, etc.).
- Once your application has been approved, a volunteer from your substation will call you to set up a time and place for your first meeting. A Block Watch Coordinator is available to run this meeting.
- Notify interested neighbors. Once you and the C.O.P.S. Volunteer have decided on a meeting time and place, let your neighbors know. C.O.P.S. Volunteers can help develop a flyer for you to distribute, or you can call your neighbors direct.
- First meeting. At this time the C.O.P.S. Volunteer will help people feel at ease, explain the value of Block Watch, and address particular interests and concerns they have about the neighborhood. This will include filling out the “Map” – a list of names, addresses and phone numbers which are reproduced and distributed to each of the member homes. Topics for future meetings can also be explored.
After the meeting, the C.O.P.S. Volunteer may help develop your Block Watch Map. When the map is completed you distribute it. Block Watch Reps are the vital link to Block Watch Members for C.O.P.S. newsletters, crime related information and educational opportunities.
If you have any further questions, or would like help in establishing your neighborhood Block Watch program, call your nearest C.O.P.S. Substation and leave a message for the Block Watch Coordinator.
Become a Block Watch Representative or Member…
call your nearest C.O.P.S. Substation today!
If you have questions about Block Watch, please fill out the form below.