“In Stapleton, crimes are overwhelmingly property crimes and crimes of opportunity,” says Lt. Ian Culverhouse, who presides over the Stapleton/Northfield section of Denver Police Department’s District 5.
And while Culverhouse insistently repeats the prevention mantra—close garage doors, keep porch lights on at night, check to make sure doors and windows are locked—he also wants to get the word out about the updated Neighborhood Watch program.
“Studies have shown that thoughtful communication between residents and the police department reduces crime and creates safer neighborhoods,” says Culverhouse. To that end, District 5 promotes a very simple, straightforward Neighborhood Watch program.
It doesn’t require participants to engage in mandatory training or go to meetings. It’s a partnership between the police and the citizens. “This program really is for the community and by the community,” says Culverhouse.
“In a nutshell … it is just encouraging the community to come together and get to know the neighbors on your block,” says Culverhouse. When a crime occurs or there is information that he thinks is important to get out to the community, the lieutenant will send it to volunteer Neighborhood Watch block captains, who in turn will send it out to their neighbors. “All we ask is that you simply be a representative for your block so that we have a conduit to pass along information.”
Block captains can use email, social media or even the old-fashioned telephone call, said Culverhouse, whatever it takes to communicate to their neighbors
Culverhouse described a recent instance where he sent out information to block captains on a burglary suspect who was active in the area. “The very next day, a resident who had seen my email and pictures saw this individual on a bicycle riding to the Walmart. She called 911 and kept eyes on him until we were able to safely take him into custody. It was fantastic, and it was all because she had just seen the message on Neighborhood Watch.”
Currently in Stapleton, almost 250 people are signed up as block captains in the program, but Culverhouse says more are needed. Volunteer coordinator Tracy Korabic says currently the gaps are most acute in the new areas of Conservatory Green, Willow Park East, Wicker Park and Beeler Park. “If you’re not getting my emails or you don’t know who your Neighborhood Watch captain is, sign up!” urges Culverhouse.
To sign up for the program or find out who your block captain is, email Tracy Korabic at email@example.com or learn more from Lt. Culverhouse at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, the DPD will no longer be using social media, like Facebook, instead using PocketGov for communication. Residents can go to www.denvergov.org/pocketgov and click on “DPD Virtual Neighborhood” for additional crime alerts.