BY JENNIFER MADRIGAL
Eastvale – With the recent high “perception” of crime in Eastvale, one way to help resolve it is to get involved. Communities that participate in Neighborhood Watch Programs statistically have less crime than those that do not. The National Crime Prevention Council shows that Neighborhood Watch works because it reduces opportunities for crimes to occur. It doesn’t rely on altering or changing the criminal’s behavior or motivation, but instead relies on a cooperative partnership between neighbors and their Police Departments designed to improve security, reduce crime and combat illegal activity.
Last July, the City of Eastvale, in collaboration with L.E.A.F.F. and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, hosted a Neighborhood Watch Kick-off to get the community excited about the program. The program however, has failed to successfully get off the ground. Concerned with the lack of public involvement, the Eastvale Public Safety Commission has been asked by the City Council to ensure that the program gets back up and running again.
At the last Public Safety Commission Meeting in February, Eastvale Police Department’s Captain Danny Feltenberger spoke to the commission and audience about the Neighborhood Watch Program. According to Feltenberger, “The program is about community, not about law enforcement, and it takes a lot to keep it going, a lot of hard work.” He suggested that the commission find people who are active in the community and recruit three chairs to head up the three sections of the city. These people can then appoint block captains who will work in their neighborhoods. Training for block captains is done by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, who will send a representative to a meeting to train and prepare residents for their own neighborhood program. The hope is that once this program successfully gets going, block captains can take reports from their individual neighborhoods and report to the chair people who will then report to the Public Safety Commission and City Council. In addition to helping spread information, this “chain of communication” will also help provide a reliable way of conversing in the event of an emergency or disaster.
The City of Eastvale is a community unlike many others in that we have an extremely active social media dynamic. Many crimes have been solved and further investigated because of information shared on Facebook and other social media sites, like the City of Eastvale’s “Persons of interest Page”. The large number of law enforcement and firefighters who are active throughout the community has also helped to raise awareness and deter crime. According to L.E.A.F.F., the nation’s only law enforcement and fire fighter organization, founded in Eastvale, “We are asking that the community come together and participate. We need you all to be the eyes and ears in order to help law enforcement better do their jobs”.
According to Asst. Chief of Police, Michael Yates, at January’s Public Safety Commission Meeting, Eastvale residents have a 100% accuracy rate when identifying and calling in suspected marijuana grow houses as they are aware of the signs. This shows that residents are vigilant and active and those skills are what are needed in Neighborhood Watch block captains and participants.
The Public Safety Commission has been asked to start a subcommittee that will look into ways to help make the Neighborhood Watch program more successful. During February’s Public Safety Commission Meeting, Commission Member, Melonee Cruse, happily stepped forth and agreed to head up the subcommittee. She will now work with other members of the commission, local law enforcement and the community to further this program along.
If you are interested in volunteering to be a Neighborhood Watch Chairperson or a block captain, contact Melonee Cruse at MCruse@EastvaleCA.gov, or contact Deputy Jeff Cryder at (951) 955-9225 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.