Culpeper’s Neighborhood Watch program has grown steadily over the past four years, but town police are seeking to expand it even further.
“The Neighborhood Watch program has proved to be a benefit to law enforcement, but more importantly to the citizens in the neighborhoods participating in the program,” said Chief Chris Jenkins.
Jenkins, who became chief in September 2010, has made a strong and growing Neighborhood Watch program one of his main goals. Under his leadership, the number of watch groups has doubled to about 20.
“The program pays huge benefits in so many ways,” said Jenkins. “Neighbors who participate in the program actually get to meet and know their neighbors.”
The purpose of the watch program is to have neighbors looking out for any suspicious activity in their community.
According to town public information officer Wally Bunker, Culpeper’s programs have been responsible for drug arrests and speeding citations.
“The police cannot be everywhere all the time as much as we would like to be,” said Jenkins. “The program gives us additional information so that we can allocate resources to deal with perceived or actual problems in a particular neighborhood.”
The Police Department has assigned one officer to work with each watch program, according to Lt. Andrew Terrill, who coordinates the program.
“Each neighborhood is a bit different in its law enforcement needs,” said Terrill. “We can tailor the response to each neighborhood based on feedback from residents.”
The Police Department holds monthly meetings to hear Neighborhood Watch concerns and advise groups what to look for. Signs are posted prominently in neighborhoods advising law breakers that neighbors are on the lookout for criminal activity.
Neighborhoods interested in forming a neighborhood watch may contact Lt. Terrill at 540/829-5521.