How long have you lived in your current neighborhood? When you moved in, how long did it take you until you met most of your neighbors? For some it can be months, or even years. Do you now feel that where you live is thriving with a true sense of community?
Let’s face it, it was not too long ago when people left the doors to their homes and their vehicles unlocked, trusted nearly everyone they came into contact with and never experienced apprehension when a stranger came knocking at the door or strolling through the neighborhood. Unfortunately, it is a different world today.
In Bonner County, there are ways your neighborhood can work together to get back that feeling of “the good old days.” The Community Watch Program, which has programs for residences and businesses, has already decreased crime in Bonner County, according to Sheriff Daryl Wheeler.
Deputies in the field have noticed an increase in signs on gates, trees, houses and businesses stating that a household or business is part of the program. Praising the program, deputies firmly believe it is a deterrent to crime and comment that people in the program are reporting more often and providing detailed descriptions of vehicles, subjects or suspicious activities.
When you have a Neighborhood Watch Program in place, you can help eliminate opportunities for criminals. Neighbors working together can help deter crime and will let the criminals know that they are being watched. For starters, let your neighbors know when you will be out of town, and assist others in protecting themselves and their property. Being aware and working together is the first step toward preventing what are known as the top three crimes in Bonner County—theft, drugs and simple assault—and more.
According to the sheriff’s office, the population in Bonner County is growing and now, more than ever, we need people to get involved and volunteer. As of earlier this year, they had nearly 700 Neighborhood Watch members with 35 groups of neighbors and 53 block captains and co-captains.
If you are interested in preventing and lowering crime rates in your neighborhood, please call Sheryl Kins, administrative assistant at the sheriff’s office, at 208.263.8417 ext. 3049. Sheriff Office Neighborhood Watch volunteers will come to your residence or place of business and tell you all about the program, hand out a packet that contains information on how to form and maintain a program, home security evaluation, prevent vehicle prowling, websites for Block/Neighborhood Watch, suspicious activity logs, property inventory lists, rural crime prevention and other pertinent information. The volunteers will ask about your concerns and what problems you may have in your neighborhood or business. The Neighborhood Watch signs are free to those who become members in the program. Let’s all make our community a safer place!
If you see suspicious activity or a crime in progress and feel it is an emergency, dial 911, or in non-emergent situations, call 208.265.5525.