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Protect yourself with Neighborhood Watch

Updated January 11, 2016

The concept of a Neighborhood Watch program has existed for hundreds of years. Originally, townspeople would grab a lantern and walk various business districts to prevent crime. Their presence was obvious and served as a deterrent to those looking to commit crimes. Over the years, the program has evolved into neighbors meeting to discuss issues, learn crime prevention techniques and share information. Neighbors work together to maintain an awareness of the activities that surround them and to report crime as it occurs.

In Cerritos, there are several different elements to the Neighborhood Watch program. Crime Prevention Town Hall meetings are held regularly where representatives from the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center present crime statistics, crime prevention tips and disaster preparedness information. These meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend.

The City also has Neighborhood Watch Block Captains who serve as liaisons between the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station and their respective neighborhoods. They distribute a hard copy of the monthly Neighborhood Watch Report and hold periodic meetings in their neighborhoods.

Residents can obtain a variety of crime prevention and disaster preparedness information on the Safer Cerritos / Crime Information homepage, and find links to various agencies and services. The Neighborhood Watch Report is posted on the website monthly and there are years of archived articles available.

Membership in the Virtual Block Club (VBC) is also available. Members receive weekly crime summaries and a map that shows the locations of crimes. Crime alerts are sent to VBC members when deputies are trying to locate a suspect or a vehicle, when a unique crime takes place that the community should be made aware of or when other information needs to be made public in a timely manner.

One of the most important components of a Neighborhood Watch program is the resident. As the "eyes and ears" of law enforcement, a resident’s ability to recognize unfamiliar people or vehicles in the neighborhood is crucial to fighting crime. Residents who observe such situations should immediately contact the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station. Individuals should call 911 for emergencies and (562) 860-0044 to report suspicious activity. This seven-digit number should be programmed into cell phone(s) as well.

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