MINUTES:FIRST MEETING OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH
Sunday, May 04, 2008, 7:00 PM at Arcola Elementary School
Meeting led by Doree Huneven, 53 people in attendance
CALLS: He said to call the police if you are concerned about suspicious activity or any problems don t hesitate. He said that if you re on the fence about calling, CALL!
For non-emergency concerns, such as suspicious people or activities, call 301 279-8000. If you see a crime in progress, call 911.
If you go away on vacation, you can notify the police of the dates so they can check up on your house. Call the office at 301 773-5500.
There are SCAT teams in unmarked cars, which are undercover units.
He said that calls to the police are prioritized:
The power of numbers works with calls: the more people who call, the more officers will be asked to cover the area. If you don t report problems, the MCPD will send their resources elsewhere.
OTHER ISSUES DISCUSSED
Suspicious phone calls in which no one talks. Ask the phone company to trace crank calls if dialing *69 doesn t reveal the number of who called.
The Citizens Academy, training citizens in police work is available, though it may be cut July 1 due to budget shortfalls. It was suggested to ask if the park police offer anything.
Upcoming Wheaton Redevelopment meeting on May 15. It s important to attend for the safety of our neighborhood and to maintain property values.
See the website www.crimereports.com to see up-to-date locations of crimes committed in your neighborhood. The website uses Google Maps to over lay the locations of reported crimes. For example, the website showed that there had been 3 burglaries and 2 robberies recently in Upper Sligo community!
Officer Hidayat noted that one of the most common crimes in our community was breaking into cars and stealing its contents. Don t leave valuables in plain view!
Several neighbors voiced concern about the late night activities at the basketball courts at Arcola Elem. Other schools have signs noting that the courts are closed after dark. Officer Hidayat will check on thi
s. Now there are two community outreach divisions in the police force:
A Home Security Survey is available free of charge, in which a police officer will come to your home evaluate its security, or lack thereof. Call the 4th District Station to set this up: 240 773-5500.
Call to report street lights that are out:
There is concern that many people in our community neighborhood don t speak English, and a way needs to be found to reach out to them.
Tree trimming is handled by Public Works, as is signage, public land, streets, etc. Phone number: 240 777-6000.
If you see graffiti, even just a little, call the 4th District police station at 240 773-5500. Graffiti will usually become worse if not removed and may be related to gang activity.
Regarding noise and young people hanging out at the school after hours, Officer Hidayat will find out the rules.
Officer Hidayat suggested that we check the Montgomery County webpage. Departments are listed for email messages, and much valuable information can be had: www.montgomerycountymd.gov
Illegal dumping is handled by the county public works dept., the parks dept. or alternative community services. Officer Hidayat will assist in finding out who to call.
TO REACH OFFICER HIDAYAT: Call the 4th district police station at 240 773-5500.
Doree Huneven agreed to be the liaison for the present. She needs to coordinate the activities of the block captains and block watchers, try to recruit neighborhood residents into the program and act as a liaison with the police.
Block captains (McDermotts) from Alma Street described their activities: to know their neighbors cars, hours, contact information, and vacations, and to call the police re: suspicious cars and people. Eventually, a block captain will personally visit each home on the block, distribute crime prevention materials, and let residents know of Neighborhood Watch meetings if necessary.
Block Watchers are people on each block who agree to act as eyes and ears for their block, and report any suspicious activity, assisting the Block Captain.
Kathy Michels and Ed Murtagh will start pulling together a list of those who indicated that they might be interested in volunteering to be Block Captains.