crime watch


Neighborhood Crime Watch operates under 2 principles:

Know your Neighbors and Report Suspicious Activity

The basic idea is for neighbors to watch out for each other. By looking after a neighbor's property as if it were your own, you will more likely contact the police if you observe something suspicious. Citizens act as extra "eyes and ears" for the police department so that calls to the police will be made when criminal activity is suspected. An alert and cooperative neighborhood is the greatest single defense against crime. By getting to know your neighbors and their vehicles, you will most likely be alert to suspicious people, vehicles, and/or sounds that could indicate criminal activity.

The Crime Prevention Unit of the Plano Police Department will help you organize a Crime Watch Area. Once the Area is organized, Officers will send bulletins to Crime Watch Areas on an as-needed basis. This information is sent regarding crimes of a serious nature, or when a suspect's description is available. This information, coupled with the two basic principles of Crime Watch, can help citizens become a part of reducing the overall crime rate in their neighborhoods.

Getting Started

Someone in your neighborhood must be instrumental in generating interest among the neighbors. After contacting your neighbors, the Crime Prevention Unit should be notified so that a meeting can be scheduled. Meetings can be held in homes, churches, schools, or any place that will accommodate the number of people you are expecting. When contacting your neighbors to discuss the program, it is best to talk with them in person rather than leaving them a pamphlet that tells about a meeting. The response will be better, and you've already taken the first step in getting to know your neighbors.

An Officer from the Crime Prevention Unit will 'chair' the meeting and outline the basic principles of the program and discuss the responsibilities of the Police Department and homeowners. The length of the meeting may vary depending on the groups agenda. Upon completion of the meeting your group will be ready to function as an active Neighborhood Crime Watch Area.

Neighborhood Watch Duties and Responsibilities

Plano Police Responsibilities:
  1. Help you get your neighborhood organized.
  2. Attend your organizational meetings.
  3. Pass important information to area coordinators in your neighborhood.
  4. Assist with educational and social neighborhood meetings.
Area Coordinator Responsibilities:
  1. Serve as the main contact between the Police Department and your neighborhood watch by receiving information from the Police Department and passing it on to the Block Captains.
  2. Organize Block Captains to best cover the neighborhood and recruit replacement Block Captains when positions open up.
  3. Submit crime watch sign requests and funds.
  4. Encourage Block Captains to have biannual meetings with the crime watch residents.
Block Captain Responsibilities:
  1. Pass on the information received from the area coordinator to the individual residential households.
  2. Meet with residents on a semi-annual basis (a Crime Prevention Officer can make presentations at these meetings or you might have a Block Party).
  3. Distribute Home Security Manuals to each of the residents and collect money for the Neighborhood Crime Watch Signs.
  4. Maintain, update and distribute New Neighbor Packets. New Neighbor Packets contains a cover letter, neighborhood phone and/or email list, Nine House Sheet, various pamphlets, and a McGruff House Application.
  5. Notify Area Coordinator if they are no longer able to perform Block Captain Duties.
Neighbor Responsibilities:
As a Crime Watch Neighbor, your responsibilities is to be a good neighbor by watching out for one anthers property and by reporting suspicious activity to the police. You should know the three (3) neighbors across the street from your home, on each side, and the three (3) neighbors behind your residence. YOU should have a heightened awareness for your neighbor's welfare and you should be more than willing to report suspicious activity to the police. Citizens can be assured that when they report suspicious activity, their name will be held in strictest confidence.

Online Citizen Police Reporting System

The Plano Police Department is offers an online citizen police reporting system that will allow you to submit a report immediately and print a copy of the police report for free.

This web based reporting system will allow the public to file a report for certain incident types (harassment, minor property or identity theft, criminal mischief/vandalism, lost property, delayed hit & run crashes, etc.) over the internet at their convenience, when no emergency exists and immediate investigation by a police officer is not necessary. The department expects this internet based reporting service to be very popular among citizens who have come to expect police services to be provided immediately and conveniently online.

The service will allow the public to file a report at a time that is best for them, without having to wait for an officer to respond or call them back. The citizen will be able to print a temporary copy of the report after submitting it. The report will be reviewed by police personnel and once approved the filing person will receive an email with a copy of the report attached without cost. The report will transfer into the Plano Police Department?s records management system and receive the same investigation and statistical analysis ability as if the report had been filed by a Police Officer.

This web based reporting option will allow officers more time to address community needs while keeping pace with the public expectancy to complete services via the internet.

The Plano Police Department will be using the Desk Officer Online Reporting System from the San Ramon, California based software company Coplogic, Inc (www.Coplogic.com).

The web based crime reporting service is available at www.planopolice.org.

Crime Watch Updates & Bulletins:

For a listing of Crime Bulletins - by Offense Date visit Plano Crime Watch Bulletin

Resources

Plano Police, Crime Prevention Unit
972-941-2431

Our CPU Police Officer
Mark Dawson, 972-208-8045

Plano Police Dept. website
www.planopolice.org

Nextdoor
Nextdoor westplano-willowbend is a good source of information on activities within the Willow Bend area, sending out regular emails of activities.  There is a specific email list for our area: West Plano -- Willow Bend that covers ours and adjacent neighborhoods.

Home Security Survey
By appointment, a Plano Police officer trained in Crime Prevention will come to your residence and conduct a security survey and make recommendations to improve your home's security.

Tips

  • Make sure all resident windows are locked, use alarm, move all valuables out of the master bedroom area, if someone rings your doorbell without opening your door let them know you are at home.
  • If you see any suspicious person, vehicle or circumstance call 911 immediately. Stay Safe, Be Alert, and Watch out for one another.
  • Keep the garage doors closed if you are not out front or working in the garage. Even if you plan on being in the back yard for a short time, it is best to shut the garage door.
  • Lock your fence gate. It seems the entrance of choice for burglaries in many neighborhoods has been the back door. Locking the gate would require one to jump the fence which would arouse suspicion so a locked gate might deter the perpetrator.
  • Get to know your neighbors! Inform your neighbors if you will be out of town and the specific dates. Ask them to watch your home and if they notice anyone at your house to phone the police department. Also provide your neighbors with your contact information while you are away so they can reach you if needed. Also ask your neighbors to remove newspapers from your lawn while away. Newspapers left in the driveway indicate you might be out of town.
  • Make it a habit of setting your home alarm while you are away — even in the middle of the day. Consider adding glass break sensors to your alarm system for the downstairs windows and doors. Have your alarm system monitored.