Citizens on Patrol What would an individual do to keep their home or neighborhood safe? The answer has become quite popular over the last few decades. In fact neighborhood prevention is becoming extremely popular as well as successfully reducing crime in some neighborhoods. One of the major forms of neighborhood crime prevention is citizen patrol. Citizen patrol or often referred to as citizen on patrol is extremely popular due to the fact that it solely relies on surveillance.
Furthermore, not only do these individuals volunteer their time to simply observe, they produce dramatic results in the process and work with law enforcement officers to stop neighborhood crime. What is the citizen on patrol program? According to the National Association of Citizens on Patrol, Citizens on Patrol is a generic name used by many to describe a special group of Law Enforcement Volunteers.
The association goes further to elaborate that, the Citizens On Patrol are Citizens who, after being screened, background checked, and trained by their local law enforcement agency, patrol their communities acting as “Eyes and Ears” for law enforcement. Citizens On Patrol are also referred to as “Citizen Observer Patrols”, “Community Action Patrols”, “Police Auxiliary Citizens Team”, “Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol”, “Volunteers In Policing”, “Volunteers On Patrol”, as well as other names.
The citizens on patrol main goal are to observe. These individuals volunteer their time and effort in order to be a visual surveillance for their family and neighbors. The history of citizen patrol dates back all the way back to the 70’s. There has been much skepticism over the first actual citizen on patrol program. However the guardian angels organization is the only one that can show history dating back from four decades. The Guardian angels organization was founded February 13, 1979 in New York City by Curtis Silwa and has 15 chapters in fifteen countries around the world. ” (www. guardianangels. og) Not only are they a nonprofit international organization but most importantly they are unarmed citizen crime patrollers. The Guardian Angels are by far not the only citizen on patrol organization; they are merely just the beginning. The Houston Police Department identifies four goals of citizen patrol.
These goals are as follows: to provide an effective method of discouraging neighborhood crimes and decline, to promote a friendly and safer neighborhood environment while respecting the privacy and rights of all citizens, to encourage awareness and provide improved communication among neighbors, and to upgrade the quality of life and property values in the area. According to the National Association of Citizen Patrol, the number of individual Citizen Patrol Volunteers within the United States is estimated to be over 75,000 with groups in every state of the nation.
All members have completed a basic class with twelve hours of class training and an 8 hour ride along with a police officer and attend additional ongoing training throughout the year. Most citizen patrols operate on foot however there are some that use either their personal cars or marked cars. According to Baltimore County Citizen Patrol, one method of patrolling utilizes 3 persons: 2 in the car, a driver and an observer while the third person remains at home with a radio. They call this the base station. If the patroller spots something, they radio the Base Station, who then calls 911. Another option is the use of cellular telephones. This allows patrollers to call 911 directly. Some groups utilize both. Many groups also have daylight patrols and utilize people who regularly walk and bike for exercise. ” (Baltimore County Police Department, B. C. P. D. ) It is not uncommon for some citizen patrols to be patrolling seven days and nights each week. However the B. C. P. D. reports that most patrol only two to four nights with a varied schedule. Why the varied schedule?
This is done so no one or no offender can pinpoint their routine. However each schedule is made to fit with the neighborhood as well as it events. For example a neighborhood with a large number of kids would not need patrolling during after school hours because the parents would be home. A common misconception is that citizen patrols only watch the neighborhood. However according to National Association of Citizen Patrol many citizen patrol control traffic at accident scenes, special events, crime scenes, fires, in addition to focused patrols in high rime areas for deterrence. The Citizen on Patrol program is an effective measure of crime prevention for most communities. The name alone acts as a deterrence of crime to many. According to the Baltimore Police County Police Department the majority of our patrols have drastically reduced crime in their neighborhoods and eliminated the suspicious activity associated with crime, thereby enhancing the overall quality of life in the community. One major benefit of the citizen patrol involves the cost saving of law enforcement and communities.
For example the citizen patrols are volunteers so these individuals save tax payers and law enforcement major bucks. “It is not uncommon for an average size Citizen Patrol group of 50 members to provide a budget savings of several hundred thousand dollars a year by performing these duties. The funds saved can then be used to put more Officers and Deputies on the streets or purchase needed equipment. In addition to budget savings, it is not uncommon for active Citizen Patrol groups to reduce crime by an average of 20 percent. (National Association of Citizen Patrol) The National Association of Citizen Patrol also posts hundreds of success stories of how citizens patrol across the world are indeed working. In conclusion the citizen patrol groups have proven to be an excellent complement to law enforcement agencies. On the contrast there are some communities were the citizen patrol did not reduce crime but lowered the citizen’s fear of crime. The Newark foot patrol experiment was done in 1979 and included 28 New Jersey cities. The study shocked many by showing that it had no effect on crime rates.
However what it did show was something not expected. The study concluded that residents knew when officers were patrolling their neighborhoods on foot, residents in areas patrolled by officers on foot thought that crime was less of a problem than did residents in areas with only motorized patrol, residents in areas with foot patrol felt safer and less likely to be victimized, residents living in areas with foot patrol took fewer steps to protect themselves against crime, and residents in areas with foot patrol were more satisfied with police services.
Summarized the residents basically saw their communities as safer and better places to live, and were more satisfied with police services On the contrast when it comes to the citizen patrol downfall there is a somewhat problem with its effectiveness. The citizen patrols are aimed at preventing crime but mostly personal crimes. The problem however, is according to the text book most personal crimes occur between individuals who know one another and within the home.
This means that citizen patrol would be least effective when the victims are neighbors or friends. However when it comes to strangers the program has much success. Think about it, if an individual were a criminal, would he really go to a community where people are patrolling. Furthermore most of the neighborhoods post citizens on patrol street signs at all entrances, advertising their patrol. In conclusion they are several thousand forms of citizen patrol in the world.
However each one operates under the same sole purpose of protecting the neighborhood. What makes many of them spectacular is the amount of community involvement. The most important thing to remember is these are often nonprofit organizations with individuals who volunteer their services. These men or women volunteer their time and effort to strictly become the neighborhood visual surveillance. As far as their success rate sure some programs are not effective in reducing crime rates but that is some not all.
While some may not reduce crime rate they may show a dramatic drop in fear of crime, and that is still a win. However there are thousands of programs showing dramatic results in reducing crime. The National Association of Citizen Patrol posts hundreds of success stories of these brave citizen patrol helping apprehend criminals. The citizen patrol name alone can sometimes deter criminals. Furthermore with over 75,000 programs and growing the citizen patrol is determined for success.