The Neighborhood Watch Crime Prevention Training will be held at Friendship Public Charter School at 1345 Potomac Ave. SE at 7 p.m. Nov. 10.
The training is taught by Samantha Nolan, a member of the police department’s Citizens Advisory Council who has taught the course on a volunteer basis for 15 years. The first half of the training focuses on what’s known as “crimes of opportunity.” Nolan explained that crimes of opportunity are easy targets for criminals that can be avoided. One common crime of opportunity is theft of valuables that are left in parked cars.
Nolan said she uses pictures from actual crime scenes to show how the crime could have been prevented. She said that about 80% of all crimes in D.C. are crimes of opportunity.
“Every time a crime of opportunity is committed, it takes an officer off the street who must fill out a report,” she said. “If we didn’t have our officers filling out reports for preventable crimes, they could be out on the street working to prevent the more violent crimes.”
The second half of the training focuses on how neighbors can come together to form neighborhood watches on their blocks. Nolan said that the most important first step of forming the watch groups is bringing neighbors together at these training meetings.
“The one thing we found is that when neighbors on a block know each other, you’re less likely to have a crime on that block,” she said. “[A neighborhood watch] starts by getting neighbors to meet each other and form a community who watch out for each other and watch out for crime on the street.”
Nolan said that several police officers will likely attend the training to answer questions from community members. Those interested in attending the training are asked to email Nolan at [email protected].
Photo via Flickr/Antti T. Nissinen