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Troy L. Wheeler

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Strategy: Park Watch

Strategy A program enlists users and neighbors to watch over park property. Crime Problem Addressed A Park Watch program . . .

Strategy

A program enlists users and neighbors to watch over park property.

Crime Problem Addressed

A Park Watch program can address all types of crime.

Key Components

The park staff must enlist the participation of park users and neighboring residents. The users and neighbors are encouraged to report suspicions or illegal activity. A special telephone number can be provided to report criminal activity or maintenance problems that need attention. A nearby Neighborhood Watch group can be encouraged to adopt the park and volunteer to check periodically for litter and damage. Signs can be posted that the park is protected by a Park Watch.

Key Participants

Park staff can work with nearby resident and users to watch out for parks.

Potential Obstacles

As with all watch programs, generating and maintaining interest will be a challenge. In some areas, the parks have been taken over by drug dealers and gangs, which may be very intimidating to people who would like to participate in a Park Watch.

Signs of Success

A campground watch established in a state park near San Clement California produced a 15 percent drop in burglary and an $8,000 decrease in property loss ("Safety in the Parks," Security Management, 1982).

Applying the Strategy

The U.S. Park Service has established a Park Watch program along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It enlists the support of park neighbors and campers to make the park safer. Information on safety and security is provided by park rangers. A toll-free number is available to call to report suspicious activity.

From 350 Tested Strategies to Prevent Crime: A Resource for Municipal Agencies and Community Groups

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