How to set up a neighborhood watch in your area
Cheng Joy Calderon is frustrated by what's happening in her neighborhood, which is near East 68th Avenue and Lake Otis.
"I was angry. I was pissed that people were going through our stuff," she said.
Thieves have hit Calderon's family three times — most recently in October and November. Calderon provided surveillance video, which shows two people casing her block for unlocked cars.
One person got into a truck, then into a car parked in Calderon's driveway. You can see the thief rummaging through the car, then leave with a small stash. Calderon says it wasn't anything valuable.
Less than 10 days ago, thieves struck again at the home. This time, two people were stymied by locked doors on two cars in the driveway. They then left.
"I'm just kind of afraid, like, what's next? How far are they going to go?" Calderon said.
People in the neighborhood say they have now contacted the Anchorage Police Department to set up a neighborhood watch. Police say around 250 neighborhood watch programs have been set up in the Anchorage and Eagle River Chugiak areas. These groups are one of the most effective and least costly ways of reducing and preventing residential property crimes, according the Municipality of Anchorage website.
Anchorage police officer Natasha Welch, who coordinates the department's neighborhood watch program, says the first thing people need to do if they want to set up a watch is talk with their neighbors to find out who wants to be part of it. Neighbors will need to decide the boundaries of the watch area, but Welch says a small area of not more than 20 homes is best.
Welch says people should be able to see all of the homes in the watch area. Neighbors will then have to schedule a time for APD to give a presentation to residents. During that meeting, APD will discuss things like crime trends for that neighborhood, crime prevention tips and how to talk to dispatchers when calling about a crime.
You can find more details of setting up a neighborhood crime watch on APD's website.
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