Thursday, July 12, 2007

First Weekend Patrol

I patrolled last Friday night with Daniel D. and Rachel. It was a pretty uneventful evening, not many people out. No police or fire department activity in the neighborhood. As a matter of fact, I never saw one police car patrol the neighborhood from 12am to 2am.

One thing worth noting. I think it's a good idea for patrols to walk the alley between Detroit and La Brea Ave from 3rd street to Wilshire, just because I think it would be neglected if I didn't mention it here. Also, Friday night there were 3 or 4 homeless people living/sleeping in that alley, on the La Brea side (east side) of the alley. It struck me that it's possible they may be committing some of the petty crime in our neighborhood ie. breaking into cars. Try to shine a flashlight on their stuff just to see if there's any type of visible stolen property, tools, or broken glass around them.

I also chatted for a bit with the security guard from Busby's positioned on the Northeast corner of Wilshire and Cloverdale. I think it's a good idea to check in with him throughout the night as he is an extra set of eyes and ears for us.

I heard from Denise that the Saturday night patrol stayed together as they patrolled in a group of 5? It seems to me that we can be more effective if we split up in groups of 2 or 3. Obviously we can cover twice the ground if we have 2 groups instead of 1 and we'll also have a bigger presence in the neighborhood. The decision is the individuals patrolling, so I'm just making a suggestion here.

I'm also wondering what people are doing during their patrol. Are you just walking around the neighborhood aimlessly or are you actively looking for crime/suspicious activity? Do you stop and observe people, places, and things and stay stealthy, or do you walk and talk the whole time? I think it's important to focus on our environment when patrolling so that we can pick up subtle clues that a crime has been, is about to be, or is being committed.

I'll share what I do when I patrol:

1. Shine my flashlight into open garages, backyards, side walkways, sideyards, construction sites, and any other dark areas that I can't see into.
2. Look at and shine my flashlight at all parked cars and in the streets for signs of broken windows/glass/vehicle theft signs.
3. Investigate all suspicious persons such as people loitering on the sidewalks or in cars. I usually keep an eye on people from across the street or down the street and I try to be inconspicuous or hidden so they don't know they're being watched.
4. Investigate all suspicious sounds such as tires screeching, horns honking, glass breaking, yelling and screaming, banging sounds, etc.

I think it's important for us to take an offensive and aggressive posture when we are out patrolling. I'm sure that criminals see us first when we're out walking the streets. If they see that we look serious, I think there's a greater chance of them having second thoughts of committing a crime in our neighborhood. If we're walking down the street talking with each other oblivious to our environment, they probably will think we're harmless and wait for us to pass before they commit their crime, or worse, they will target us.

I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do, I just thought I'd start a dialog here so we can all get on the same page, be safe, and make our neighborhood a safer place.

Any thoughts, discussion, or ideas from anyone would be appreciated.


dmr said...

Hey Dan, thanks for the information and advice. How do we express our seriousness?

Dan Steinberg said...

that's a good question, I'd say body language.