Neighborhood Watch can improve safety

By Holly Estepp - Vandalia Crime Prevention Officer



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VANDALIA – Does your neighborhood experience car break-ins? Are their motorists speeding through your neighborhood? Is there other safety issues in your neighborhood that you want solved? If so, Vandalia Division of Police has a program just for you. It is the Vandalia Neighborhood Watch Program. You and your neighbors can help. By acting as extra “eyes and ears” for the police, a group of concerned citizens can help them catch thieves or, better yet, prevent burglaries from happening in the first place.

Neighborhood watch holds four meetings a year at the police department. We discuss current crime trends and issues going on in neighborhoods. If you have any specific issues that you are concerned about within your neighborhood, then bring these issues to the meeting. As your crime prevention officer, I am here for you, and I am willing to try to help you in any way that I can. We can work as a community to help keep Vandalia safe. It takes more than public service departments to make this possible. We need you to help us fight crime and becoming a neighborhood watch member is the way to help.

Vandalia’s Neighborhood Watch Program offers a lot for the neighborhood and its residents. Once a group is established, Neighborhood Watch signs will be erected at each entrance to the neighborhood. The members also receive a neighborhood watch decal to post on their front door or window, identifying them as a member of the watch group. The coordinators and assistant coordinators will receive crime alert e-mails when they are issued and will be added to the crime alert email list. In addition to the above activities, the neighborhood watch group can also become active in the following activities:


This can include newspaper articles on the group’s other activities or radio public service announcements on burglary prevention tips. Education includes brochures, posters, and other devices designed to increase public awareness of things that can be done to thwart crime. Some groups post signs in the neighborhood to warn would-be burglars that a watch-type program is going, and provide decals and stickers to be placed on windows, door and cars.


“I think a sign itself is a deterrent,” a Washington, DC police officer said. “It shows the burglar that you have people who care enough to form groups to protect themselves.” One Watch Group participant said when burglars see such signs, “they don’t know when to hit because patrols are scattered throughout the day.”


An engraver is available to members, so they can mark their valuable personal property – usually with their driver’s license number and state abbreviation. This may help police recover the property if it is stolen.


Vandalia Neighborhood Watch Program sponsors National Night Out Against Crime in August. Members of neighborhood watch are given first priority seating at future Citizen Police Academies.

Contact the Crime Prevention Officer Holly Estepp at 415-2272 or if you would like to start a neighborhood watch group or have any other questions.

Estepp File photo

By Holly Estepp

Vandalia Crime Prevention Officer

Reach the Vandalia Division of Police at (937) 898-5868.

Reach the Vandalia Division of Police at (937) 898-5868.