CRESTVIEW — When it comes to making the community safer, it really does take a village.
Or at least a whole neighborhood. The Nov. 2 inauguration of Crestview’s newest Neighborhood Watch program is already making a difference in a new development.
When Redstone Commons, opposite Shoal River Middle and Riverside Elementary Schools, experienced a rash of vehicle burglaries this summer, the incidents galvanized the development’s residents to band together.
Working with Crestview Police Community Services Officer Sam Kimmons, Peter and Theresa Simmons organized their neighbors to bring a Neighborhood Watch program to Redstone Commons.
“We organized because we had some crimes in our neighborhood,” Peter Simmons said.
“We have lots of young families, former military, current military. It’s (a) real family-like area.”
“We organized together as a community,” Theresa Simmons said. “The main reason is we wanted to make our community safer, but it ended up bringing together the whole neighborhood.”
Peter said under Officer Kimmons’ guidance, the Neighborhood Watch program organized shifts during which teams will walk around the development. “We double our patrols on the weekend,” he said.
“We’d just like to thank Officer Kimmons for helping us organize this Neighborhood Watch,” Peter Simmons said.
In addition to helping organize the program, Kimmons also instructed participants in what to look for to help combat problems before they take hold. For example, a cut-off soda can bottom may look like a common piece of litter to the untrained eye. But a closer look revealed it to be singed, indicating it was probably used to “cook” an illegal narcotic before injection.
Kimmons said the program breaks a critical side of the “crime prevention triangle,” which includes the three components of a crime: desire, ability and opportunity.
“We can’t control desire,” Ofc. Kimmons said. “We can’t control the ability. But we can control the opportunity,” by doing simple things like being sure to lock vehicle doors and reporting strangers acting suspiciously in the neighborhood.
“If you take the opportunity away, you can reduce crime,” Kimmons said.