Take Back Santa Cruz community leadership says, embrace your inner Ms. Kravitz. Pay attention in your neighborhood, call, set standards but most of all own it with pride. Take your neighborhood back from crime and abusive behavior. ♥ each other and laugh at yourselves when you get the chance. Find people on your street and stick together. Talk to each other, have coffee on the corner and help each other.
All too often, people don’t want to get involved and report suspicious activity and crime because they are unsure, afraid or think it won’t make a real difference. The reality is that keeping your eyes on the lookout for unknown individuals in your neighborhood does help prevent crime because criminals are less likely to strike an area or street that seems to have a strong presence of nosy neighbors. Do you remember the “nosy neighbor” on the television series Bewitched, Gladys Kravitz? Gladys was always peeking out of her windows to see what magic her neighbor Samantha was brewing. It was not long before the name “Gladys Kravitz” entered our lexicon as a synonym for “nosy neighbor.”
I thought of Gladys Kravitz recently when a woman in my neighborhood called me about a suspicious incident she observed in her neighbor’s yard several hours earlier. She had observed a stranger walking through the yard, looking at the house and poking around the grounds. When I asked her if she called the police, she said “no.” She thought what she saw was suspicious, but she did not see an actual crime being committed, was afraid of getting involved, and thought it would not really make a difference. This could not be further from the truth, neighbors who immediately report suspicious people, cars, trucks and RV’s to the police, help prevent neighborhood crime. You never know when your description may help identify a known criminal or stop or prevent a crime.
Law enforcement in Santa Cruz County needs involvement from each of us to successfully reduce and prevent crime in our neighborhoods
Police and the District Attorney’s office cannot do their job of catching and prosecuting criminals without people reporting suspicious and criminal activity. You have nothing to fear if you report a crime or are a witness to a crime and your actions will likely help prevent future crimes and send a strong message to the criminals that you and your neighbors are not going to be victims.
The police can’t be everywhere at once and they need all of our eyes watching our neighborhoods to help keep everyone as safe as possible. Neighbors are the ones who really know what is going on and are most likely to be the first to see a crime and call for help. Neighbors are in the best position to keep their own neighborhood safe.
Join and participate in Santa Cruz Neighbors or Next Door
A good way to get to know your neighbors and find out what is happening in your neighborhood, is to join and participate in Santa Cruz Neighbors or Next Door, if you are outside the city of Santa Cruz. Social media has given us this great tool to channel your inner “Gladys Kravitz” and become a neighborhood crime reporter/stopper!
Establish a Neighborhood Watch Program
Another great program to protect you and your neighbors is Neighborhood Watch. If your street/neighborhood doesn’t have an established Neighborhood Watch program, consider starting one. It is a great crime prevention program that enlists the active participation of residents in cooperation with law enforcement to reduce crime, solve problems and improve the quality of life in your neighborhood. Participation will teach you and your neighbors how to:
- Recognize and report crimes and suspicious activities
- Protect yourself, your family, and your property,
- Protect your neighbor’s family and property, and
- Identify crime and other problems and work with law enforcement to solve them.
Local law enforcement can assist you in establishing a Neighborhood Watch program in your neighborhood. Even if you are not directly involved in a Neighborhood Watch program, you can still take the lessons from the program and apply them to your everyday life.
I hope you will embrace your inner “Gladys Kravitz” and report suspicious activity and crimes in your neighborhood. Working together with our local law enforcement, we can reduce crime and increase our quality of life in Santa Cruz County.