The Orange Hunt Estates Civic Association (OHECA) Neighborhood Watch Program is one of the longest standing programs in the West Springfield Police District. Neighborhood Watch is a community crime prevention program sponsored by the Fairfax County Police Department designed to prevent, detect and report crimes. Members of the OHECA program patrol our community’s streets solely to WATCH and to BE SEEN.
A viable Neighborhood Watch Program is contingent upon volunteers whose numbers have decreased over the years and consists primarily of those who have participated for more than ten years. The annual membership drive is when we solicit for new participants. I encourage you to volunteer any time during the year. Statistics show that areas in Fairfax County without Neighborhood Watch Programs have a higher incident rate than those that do. I am concerned by our decrease in participation, which if continued to decline, will seriously jeopardize the viability of the program.
Anyone who is 18 years and older may join Neighborhood Watch. There is no special training required All we are looking for are neighbors with a willingness to make a difference. Neighborhood Watch usually fields two mobile teams plus a monitored base station during patrol hours. The average member actually patrols only two or three evenings a year and donates, on average, from six to nine hours a year. The Base Station is done from the comfort of your home (great for those with small children). I and your Team Captains cannot maintain a viable program without your participation. Get involved Do something for your community – Volunteer today!
Tips from Neighborhood Watch Safety Training on March 8, 2011
- Don’t be predictable when driving.
- If you are a new volunteer, drive the route in the day so you aren’t lost at night.
- You do not posses police powers. In the event of an emergency, call 911 and the non-emergency number for anything else.
- Never challenge anyone that exhibits suspicious behavior. Call the police.
- Do not drink alcohol or carry weapons on patrols.
- Do not pursue vehicles. Watch them, record them, and report them. The most important piece of information you can get is the license plate number. Look at the car BEFORE you look at the person. Even getting a partial plate is helpful. Start with the car tag and work backwards.
For those who are web savvy, the Fairfax County Public Safety Homepage has great information available to Fairfax County citizens. Check it out at: http://www.co.fairfax.va.us/living/safety/.
The following is an extract of the Community Policing program by the FCPD.
Community policing is both a style and a philosophy concerning how police services are delivered. The Fairfax County Police Department recognizes the foundations of a successful community policing strategy are the close, interactive relationships between officers and community members working toward the goal of reducing crime and its effects. Efforts focus on the underlying causes of crime by assessing the characteristics of problems in specific neighborhoods and application of appropriate, mutually supported problem solving remedies in a partnership role. Although traditional incident – driven response and service delivery is an inherent and necessary part of our responsibility to provide effective law enforcement in Fairfax County, a significant portion of our response effort is proactive in nature and is equally served from within a community policing framework. The department employs two core components–community partnership and problem solving in its community policing initiatives.
WEST SPRINGFIELD DISTRICT POLICE STATION
As a reminder, the West Springfield District Station provides the following free services:
- Home Security Inspections
- Neighborhood Watch Patrol Member Training
- Child Car/Safety Seat Inspections
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Etching
- Community Advisory Committee (CAC)
Contact the West Springfield District Station at (703) 644-7377 for more details. The Fairfax County Police Department Auxiliary Police Unit is also looking for volunteers – Call (703) 280-0576.
FAIRFAX COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Fairfax County Police Department maintains a website (below) that contains valuable information, assistance and services on such topics as:
- Victim Services
- Photo Red Light Monitoring Program
- Wanted Persons
- Daily Incidents and Weekly Crime Reports
- Youth Gangs
- Crime Prevention Tips
- Employment Opportunities
- Volunteer Opportunities
Visit the Fairfax County Police website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/
REPORT CRIME VIA NEW INTERNET SERVICE
“As a convenience to our community, the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) has developed a time-saving online service that allows residents to file a wide variety of non-emergency reports. This is often more convenient than arranging to meet with an officer.
The FCPD wants to know when crime and suspected criminal activity happens, even if it’s relatively minor. We know that, in order to provide effective law enforcement services, we need to know when and where problems are occurring. Even if a particular incident seems insignificant or offers little hope of solution, through analysis, it may be the key to solving a larger problem. We also understand that in this busy community, our citizens don’t always have the time to wait for an officer to come to them. To address this, the FCPD offers a way to report many lesser offenses over the Internet. By following simple on-line instructions any citizen may file a report at his or her convenience.
The Internet reporting system is ready when you are and it is easy to use. For more information, please visit: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/crs/
FAIRFAX COUNTY WEEKLY CRIME REPORT
Interested in the crime happenings in your neighborhood? The FCPD Public Information Office publishes a weekly crime report. It consists of three sections: Major Incidents; Property Crime; and Animal Related Incidents. The report is available online at: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/news-releases/
If you would like to receive the West Springfield Shield a free monthly newsletter produced by the Crime Prevention Unit go here: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/newsletter/
REPORT OBSERVED UNSAFE OR RECKLESS DRIVERS
Observed an incidence of an unsafe, reckless or aggressive driver and want something to be done? Print off the “Traffic Safety Watch Report” form available from “Roadshark”, and return the completed form to the FCPD Traffic Division
within 10 days of the incident. http://www.geocities.com/wsca2000/roadshark.htm
OTHER VALUABLE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH RESOURCE SITES
Another informative website, USAOnWatch, is sponsored by the National Sheriffs Association: http://www.usaonwatch.org/.
Within this website you may find valuable resource materials under the category Publications after you launch this URL: http://www.usaonwatch.org/resource/neighborhood_watch/
Neighborhood Watch resource materials discuss steps you can take to help secure your home and your valuables:
- Home Security Inspection Checklist
- Home Security Booklet
- Personal Property Identification Record
- Vacation Checklist Brochure
The Citizens’ Preparedness Guide provides current crime and disaster preparedness information to give Americans guidance on how to prepare in homes, in neighborhoods, at work, at the airport, in places of worship, and in public
- Citizens’ Preparedness Guide (English)
- Citizens’ Preparedness Guide (Spanish)
The Department of Homeland Security has developed a website at http://www.ready.gov to help you prepare for the potential threats we now face as we enter this new era of potential warfare and terrorism here at home.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on line library is also a ready source of emergency and disaster preparedness materials at http://www.fema.gov/
National Sheriffs Association: http://www.sheriffs.org/
National Crime Prevention Council: http://www.ncpc.org/
Remember, we can all continue to keep Orange Hunt Estates a safe place to live by participating in Neighborhood Watch, keeping our sidewalk lampposts and porch lights lit, and reporting suspected criminal activity to the Fairfax County Police Department.
EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM
The Emergency Alert System exists to permit emergency officials to broadcast timely information and instructions in threatened or actual emergencies. Circumstances may change rapidly during an incident or event, so listen to the emergency broadcast stations for updates. The primary radio stations to listen to in the Springfield area include:
WTOP 1500 AM and 103.5 FM
WKYS 93.9 FM
WMAL 630 AM
WHFS 99.1 FM
WPGS 95.5 FM
WJZW 105.9 FM
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY
Please note that the Sex Offender Registry is very specific:
“Unlawful use of the information for purposes of intimidation or harassing another is prohibited and willful violation shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.”
“Data contained in the registration may be primarily based on information furnished by the convicted Sex Offender, therefore, the Virginia Department of State Police cannot guarantee the accuracy of the record.”
To report something or someone suspicious, FCPD use the non-emergency number: (703) 691-2131.
For events that are life-threatening or immediately damaging to property, Call 911.
We can all do our part by immediately reporting suspicious activity to the police.
Dont be a part of the problem Stay alert and get involved!