It’s an idea that has been out there a while – and Escalon Police Department officials said they are more than happy to work with residents to make it happen. The idea is the formation of Neighborhood Watch groups around the community.
“We had a little run a couple of months ago where cars had been broken into,” Police Chief Rob Lackey explained of what may have sparked the interest.
And it actually is a renewed interest, added Lackey.
“Chief Borges (former Chief Mike Borges) started it and years ago, there were a couple of active ones,” Lackey said of the groups.
Neighborhood Watch is designed to be set up in different areas of a community and is a needs-based, community-driven effort.
“The Escalon Police Department has gotten some inquiries from concerned citizens regarding the Neighborhood Watch program,” noted Officer Carl Poortinga. “Neighborhood Watch programs are not run by the police department; they are run by citizens in the community with assistance and guidance from the police department.”
Lackey said even if residents in a specific neighborhood don’t feel the need for an actual Neighborhood Watch group, they can still help assure their own safety.
“If you see something, call us,” the chief stressed. “You help us; we can help you, that’s the way it works.”
Residents concerned about unfamiliar vehicles in their area or those that see unusual activity are asked to contact police at 209-838-7093.
Lackey said Neighborhood Watch is a structured program, and neighborhoods that want it would have to commit to regularly scheduled meetings and have a ‘block captain’ that would help coordinate the program and serve as a liaison with the police department.
“I will keep pushing it,” Lackey said, noting that the more people get involved in their neighborhoods, the more likely it is they can help keep incidents of crime down.
“I think the main thing is don’t be afraid to call the police,” the chief said.
Officer Poortinga added that the department is willing to work with residents to establish programs throughout the city.
If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch Program in your neighborhood, contact Officer Poortinga at 209-691-7345 or CPoortinga@cityofescalon.org.
In addition to Neighborhood Watch, Chief Lackey said they are always looking for residents willing to join the Escalon Police volunteer corps, which assists with items ranging from traffic control during parades to helping with downtown activities like Park Fete. They also do vacation checks, can deliver paperwork and more. For more information on the volunteer program, contact Chief Lackey or Sgt. Anthony Hardgraves at the police department.