Now you can do a Neighborhood Watch program in any unincorporated area of the county from the comfort of your living room and fight crime at the same time! It’s easy and fun.
First: Get to know your neighborhood and what crime is occurring nearby. Go to our Crime Map page and find your neighborhood. The Crime Map program allows you to search the calls associated with unincorporated geographic regions of the county, including your street, to see what crimes have been reported. You can even do custom searches over different periods of time to determine certain trends.
Second: Talk with neighbors to see who has email and ask them if they would be interested in forming a Neighborhood Watch Interactive group with you. Once you have a group together, encourage each other to follow the Sheriff’s Office Facebook Page for all of our current updates and press releases.
Third: Set up an email group list of all the people who have agreed to join your Neighborhood Watch and share the group with everyone so each household may send an alert at any time. Now the training begins! You as coordinator of your Neighborhood Watch Interactive group need to teach everyone what to look for and how to call the Sheriff’s Office.
What is Suspicious Activity?
- Someone running from a car or home.
- Someone screaming.
- Someone going door to door in the neighborhood or looking into windows and/or parked cars.
- A person(s) who appears to have no purpose wandering through your neighborhood.
- Breaking glass or the sound of a door being kicked.
- Vehicles moving slowly at night without lights.
- Someone removing property from a closed business or unoccupied home.
- A stranger in a car who stops to talk with a child.
- Offers of merchandise available for a price that does not match the value of the item.
- Hand to hand transactions from cars or on the street.
How to Report Suspicious Activity or Crimes in Progress
- Know when and how to call the Sheriff’s Office. For in-progress crimes, dial 9-1-1. Questions or non-emergency calls, (805) 781-4550 (option 3).
- Describe the event briefly and answer questions about what, where, when and how it happened along with any suspects or vehicles.
- State if crime is in progress or if it has just occurred.
- Describe suspect(s) sex, race, height, weight, hair color/length, clothing, accent, facial hair or other distinguishing characteristics.
- If a vehicle is involved, what is the color, make, model, year, license number, decals, dents, etc. and what direction did it take from the scene.
- Give your name and phone number.
Fourth: You’re almost done! You have studied the crime map to know what’s happening, identified your neighbors and formed an email group, taught them about suspicious activity and how to call the Sheriff…now what? Encourage your group to share information about suspicious activities or issues, especially when they have called the Sheriff’s Office for assistance. Keep each other informed. A great example is a suspicious solicitor who comes to your door. Something is not right; the person looks past you into your home, offers only a poor reason why they came to your door. Call the Sheriff’s Office to report the suspicious person and email your neighbors about what just happened and who to watch for and why you were concerned. It is also important to have the best phone number available for each person in your group in case you have urgent information to share.
Do’s and Don’ts: Do share information about your neighborhood, but not gossip about a neighbor. Do encourage others to join, but don’t force anyone who may be uncomfortable. Do share website information from www.slosheriff.org and join the Sheriff’s Office Facebook account as a fan, but don’t spam!
For further information about starting a program in your neighborhood, or to have an in-person presentation, please contact our Crime Prevention Specialists Grace Norris at (805) 781-4483 or Brandy Swain at (805) 781-4578.