HEMET: Local Police Chief helps community celebrate during annual Neighborhood Watch potluck
HEMET – In spite of a busy weekend filled with several planned activities and events, Dave Brown, the City of Hemet’s Chief of Police, took time out of his packed schedule to visit Solera Diamond Valley’s annual Neighborhood Watch potluck Saturday afternoon, April 29.
The potluck events, which were held on different blocks throughout the community, were organized by the different Neighborhood Watch groups within the community, which is located north of Mustang Way and east of Warren Road.
Although Solera Diamond Valley is a small, 55+ community with just under 575 homes located towards the city’s southwest end, the “small enclave” boasts more than thirty different organized Neighborhood Watch groups.
“There were quite a few different block parties throughout the community on Saturday,” Ellen Hyman, who is Co-Captain of her block’s Neighborhood Watch group, said the day after the event and festivities. Some of the blocks had large, extravagant parties, while others favored more of a backyard BBQ theme.
Hyman said the turn out for the day’s related, but separate, events was fantastic. “A few of the blocks combined their parties and had theirs together,” Hyman explained. “We had about twenty neighbors at our block party.”
“This community is a perfect example of how residents can join together, work shoulder to shoulder with the local police department and keep crime at a very low level,” a Hemet police official said about the Solera community after the event.
Neighborhood Watch – The “eyes and ears” of the police
“Neighborhood Watch is a great way citizen’s can work together to prevent crime by educating participating homeowners and residents in the principals of deterrence, delay, and detection,” Hemet police officials explained on the city’s website.
Each different Neighborhood Watch is led by its own Block Captain and Co-Captain and each group has its own structure as well as individual, group emergency protocols, events and meetings. The Block Captains and Co-Captains maintain contact with the other residents in their area and share news, information and concerns about the community.
Officials explained that being involved in an active and organized Neighborhood Watch is “one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce neighborhood fear.”
“Knowing your neighbor and the patterns of those coming and going in your area will help make it easy to spot something that is unusual or out of place,” officials explained in a recent social media post.
Hyman agreed, explaining,”By knowing our neighbors, it allows us to know if someone or something seems unusual in our neighborhood.”
Hyman said one of the things she likes most about being part of her community’s Neighborhood Watch is that it brings people together.
“I especially enjoy meeting my neighbors,” Hyman said. “Being part of Neighborhood Watch brings the neighbors together and opens up lines of communication.”
Officials echoed that sentiment, writing, “Neighborhood Watch fights the isolation that crime both creates and feeds upon. It forges bonds among area residents, helps reduce burglaries and robberies, and improves relations between the police and the communities they serve.”
Hyman said another of the benefits to being a Neighborhood Watch member is that in the event of an emergency each group has a plan to check on every person from each of the participating homes within each block.
If you see something, say something.
Officials reminded citizens that immediately reporting suspicious activities and people to the police is a very important part of community involvement.
Officers are often not called to crime scenes until long after the crime has been committed, either because there were no witnesses or there were witnesses – who for one reason or another – failed to call to report their suspicions.
“Some people fail to call the police simply because they are not aware the seemingly innocent activities might be suspicious. Others may notice suspicious activity and be hesitant to call for fear of seeming like a nosy neighbor,” officials explained. “Still others take for granted that someone else has probably already called to report the activity.”
Police officials, who reminded that “no police department can function effectively without the assistance and support of the local citizens,” explained that when it comes to reporting suspicious activities, citizens should not be worried or embarrassed if their suspicions prove to be unfounded.
“We want you to call,” officials explained. “Think about what the result could be if you don’t act.”
For more information regarding City of Hemet Neighborhood Watch opportunities or to start a new Neighborhood Watch in your community contact Hemet Police Department Neighborhood Watch at (951) 765-2415. Or visit the following link for more information: City of Hemet Neighborhood Watch opportunities.
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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.