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Power of a Community














The power of a community to protect each and every person in that community is a potent power of strength and loyalty. This is a call to action for safer neighborhoods and protected communities against crimes. How can we play a strong role in our communities against crimes committed against us and our families, our neighbors, and our friends?

Good neighbors can watch, help, and encourage kids to stay in school and not go down the wrong path like joining gangs or drug-dealing, and keep negative influences outside of their neighborhoods. Police and law enforcement are definitely useful and necessary in protecting neighborhoods, but most times they come only after a crime has occurred. They come to pick up the pieces and collect evidence after a crime has occurred or been committed, but a unified and empowered community can catch a criminal in the act and help the police further investigate and make sure justice is served.

In daily community interactions, who is the one most likely to be the first one to spot a criminal in the act? It is a neighbor, a pedestrian, a friend, someone nearby who is not a law enforcement official, but a civilian and community member. If you witness a crime, call for help immediately. You can save a person's life by building your community awareness and immediately helping out those around you in need. Calling 911 immediately when seeing a neighbor in danger can make the difference between life and death. Maximize the potential in the power of a safe community.

What are other ways to build the power of security in your community? Well, you can consistently share information about new or suspicious neighbors and file suits in small claims courts to shut down drug-dealing houses and organize campaigns against drug dealers. You can monitor street lighting and landscaping to make sure streets are highly visible and cleanly manicured, which can deter crime and assaults from happening. After all, the power of visibility during the darkness of night is a means to not only film suspicious behavior but also to hinder the opportunities for criminals to hide or escape from law enforcement.

Crimes that rarely get news coverage, such as destruction of property and/or vandalism and graffiti, can be shared with your neighbors and community members (via flyers or newsletters) to disseminate useful information, problem areas, and keep these types of crimes from rising or worsening. Not only vandalism, but petty thefts, car break-ins, and persistent littering are crimes that, while not always deadly, disrupt the peace and wellness in a community and make individuals feel less empowered, less secure, less likely to contribute to sustaining the health and unity of the community. 

 The power of neighborhood watch, of members of a community in constant and vigilant conversation with each other-this is a power that cannot be guaranteed by law enforcement or government officials. It is a grassroots power founded and fostered by the everyday people and interactions that make living in America today an opportunity to pursue your dreams, your goals, your success-all of which are things that we can never take for granted. Let's foster and celebrate the power of community daily.
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Improving Security And Safety In Our Communities 
Using Neighborhood Watch Bike Patrols













Have you seen bicycles used around your community by various Security Patrols? They have become very popular over recent years as a low-cost approach to cover a lot of ground and still be accessible to the citizens they watch over. 

 Bicycle Patrols always seem to achieve being both watchful and friendly at the same time. Maybe you are interested in bringing this approach to your neighborhood and citizens. You may be surprised to know how many communities have done this before. Here is some valuable information that may interest you.

The earliest use of the bicycle by police may have been in Illinois as early as 1869 when a sheriff and his deputies used several very expensive, heavy and uncomfortable patrol bikes on what were then poor quality roads. Needless to say, this attempt was short-lived. But, some 23 years later in 1892, Orange New Jersey implemented "modern like" bicycles for quick response. By 1917, an estimated 50,000 bicycle police were patrolling around the United States. In just the five boroughs of Greater New York, 1200 bicycle patrolmen were patrolling eight to nine times the area of walking patrolmen.
However, by 1929, after almost 45 years of intermittent but growing use of the bicycle by police forces, radio and telephone technology began to replace both foot and bicycle patrols with police cars.  New York City no longer had bicycle-police and by 1934 Richmond had terminated their bicycle unit.  As the U.S. became suburbanized, the police became more dependent on their vehicles.  And, almost without notice, technology-dependent police forces became tied to their patrol cars and stations; unintentionally isolating themselves from the communities they wanted to serve and protect.

By the 1960s however, communities began to notice this separation and started asking for a solution. Three Presidential Commissions between 1968 and 1973 returned police to patrolling cities and neighborhoods on foot. In 1970, the small town of Lindsay, California started using police bicycle patrols. The Lindsay Chief of Police noted that bicycle patrols covered just about as much territory as their police in patrol cars with the added benefits gained from a silent approach and the high-seated view of crimes from the patrolling bicycles. In 1972, the Baltimore police started using bicycle patrols because cars had difficulty traveling through narrow alleys. With the addition of these patrols, crime dropped 50% in six months within the four bicycle beats patrolled from 8 AM to midnight. Richmond again started using the bicycle patrol for the first time since 1934.

With the Bicycle Patrols improved view and closeness to the citizens, riders found it easier to get through traffic gridlock. By 1993, Seattle had 70 police on bicycles and was one of the first to use Bicycle Patrols for general patrolling. Further, Seattle publicized its efforts that then stimulated interest in other police departments, private security companies and campus police throughout the world.

Bike patrols offer numerous security advantages to their communities: improved rider visibility, ability to travel at least twice as fast as a walking person, reaching areas inaccessible by car, lower overall operating costs and more easily maneuverability through traffic. Further, bicycles, because they are quiet, enjoy a stealth advantage and tend not to be noticed while also allowing their riders to be more approachable than patrol security cars. The cost of a bike (about $300 to $1200) is substantially less than a patrol car and has an average annual maintenance cost less than $300.
The policing and neighborhood advantages of bicycle use is: 

1) Increasing patrol area size and access. 
2) Improved community interaction. 
3) Observing and reporting crimes and speeding automobiles. 
4) Traffic enforcement (police only responsibilities). 
5) Stealth advantage: cyclists see more criminal activity. 
6) Rapid response to needed locations through radio or telephone, particularly through gridlocked traffic, inaccessible areas by car and large crowds. 
7) Mobile ability to quickly traverse difficult terrain or crowded areas. 
8) Enjoyable exercise while performing a community security service.

Conclusion

The use of a bicycle patrol on a neighborhood watch would obviously have fewer roles than your local police departments. Your community should seek mentoring to get your community started and trained by a knowledgeable and active bike patrol. There are many examples to follow. Today, New York City boasts 3,000 plus bicycle police with another 350 in Los Angeles and 210 in Houston. In 2000, over 6,000 police departments have a bicycle unit totaling over 35,000 bicycle officers nationwide.

Our communities in the U.S. have long been known for increasing the use of the automobile. Your community will not the first to recognize the potential value of the bicycle as a means of neighborhood patrol. The open nature of the bicycle will keep your watch in touch with your surroundings and more approachable to your residents and citizens. We recognize the bicycle's advantage for allowing us to travel most anywhere. The level of automobile traffic, particularly during major events, slows all motorized traffic to nearly a stand still. Your neighborhood bike patrol would be one example in your community where using bicycles to travel is efficient and convenient.

We hope that you are interested in finding out more information on starting your own Neighborhood Watch Bicycle Security Patrols. Our goal is to improve the safety of our neighborhoods by starting Neighborhood Watch Bike Patrols in as many communities as possible. If you have questions on starting your own neighborhood bike patrol, please feel free to contact us through our website or call us at 727.657.3339
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