Police: Neighborhood watch programs are effective in preventing crime
Myrtle Beach, S.C. (WPDE) —
Authorities say you can't fully stop crime and the police can't be everywhere all the time, but that's where citizens can step in.
Neighborhood watch programs not only help prevent crime, but they also help to strengthen the relationship between police and the community, Myrtle Beach Police Lt. Joey Crosby said.
"If you have a neighborhood watch program in which they are contacting the police department, letting us know about suspicious activity and, we as a police department are having our patrols within that area, that’s us working collectively together to address the problem," he said.
The vital aspect of community policing is the partnership between officers and members of the community, Lt. Crosby said.
"It’s a cumulative effort of sharing information, contacting the police when you see suspicious activity, participate and be involved. All of those things together make a difference," he said.
The Myrtle Beach Police Department hosts dozens of neighborhood watch meetings each month.
Lt. Crosby said neighborhood watch programs are a great addition to all communities.
In the Forestbrook neighborhood, which is in Horry County, several volunteers work together as the Forestbrook Crime Watch Patrol.
One of those volunteers is Malinda Narine. She said the neighborhood watch truly is a team effort.
"We drive around [on] patrol. We have magnets that we put on our cars. We all wear vests and hats. The kids, we got bike flags for the kids, so they put them on their bikes," she said.
The goal is to send a message that they're watching and help keep crime out of the neighborhood.
"We are literally just a deterrent. We don’t fight crime. We don’t do anything like that. Obviously, if something happens, the first phone call is the police," Narine said.
There is also a Facebook page for the people in the neighborhood. This gives everyone a way to quickly communicate what is happening, Narine said.
"Somebody will post, 'Hey, I just saw four suspicious kids in hoodies walking down the street,' and now everybody on that street is looking, but everybody else has seen it too. So, now, people themselves will just drive by and slow down and look at them and it makes them feel uncomfortable, so they just keep moving," she said.
If you want to start a neighborhood watch program, authorities say you should contact your local police department.
Here's a few of the local police departments' contact numbers:
- Myrtle Beach Police Department: 843-918-1382
- North Myrtle Beach Public Safety: 843-280-5511
- Conway Police Department: 843-248-1790
- Florence Police Department: 843-665-3191
- Darlington Police Department: 843-398-4026
- Marion Police Department: 843-423-8616