With 327 active neighborhood watch groups in almost every neighborhood in the city, Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Wells said interest in the organized strategy for combating crime is brisk. “We are currently receiving many inquiries and requests from neighborhoods to form or restart a watch group,” Wells said, “and we have two crime prevention staff conducting an average of four watch trainings a week.”
Neighborhood Watch is designed to increase safety and sense of community in neighborhoods by organizing and involving individuals and families in a united crime prevention effort. In the trainings, watch participants are taught how to communicate regularly with neighbors, recognize and report suspicious and criminal activity, increase home and vehicle security, increase personal safety and make neighborhoods less attractive to criminals. Watch members are cautioned against: being confrontational, intruding on the privacy of other neighbors, actively patrolling your street and taking the law into your own hands.
Wells said even though he and his Office of Neighborhood Involvement colleagues are busier than they’ve been in years, they’re still welcoming more neighbor interest. “We are looking at ways to bring this crime prevention program to communities in Portland that lack watch groups or have never participated in this program.”
Wells suggested anyone interested in forming a neighborhood watch on their block visit www.portlandoregon.gov.