We are currently looking for volunteers to be Block Captains for their immediate area. If we could identify one resident per street to serve as our 'eye and ears' to help report problems and keep your neighbors connected. Contact the Board at board@MGHOA.org if you are interested.
MG/EC has no CrimeWatch organization at this time. However, the SAN ANTONIO POLICE DEPARTMENT sponsors a unique, exciting program, CELLULAR ON PATROL, that gives residents an opportunity to work closely with the police to make their neighborhoods safer places to live.
THE COP TRAINING PROGRAM
The purpose of the COP Program is to prepare neighborhood residents to be the “eyes and ears” of the police and to promote closer cooperation between residents and the city agencies that exist to serve them. The training program, presented at the SAPD substations, consists of 4 hours of classroom training and the opportunity for up to 8 hours of ride-along with a district patrol officer.
During the classroom sessions volunteers are trained to recognize suspicious activities and other factors that lead to crime in their neighborhoods. Police officers and other specialists present information on how to recognize various crimes, including burglaries, thefts, robberies, gang activities, narcotics and vice activities, and other crimes that may be present in the neighborhoods the COP graduates will patrol. COP volunteers are also given information on code violations and how to work with Code Compliance to clean up their neighborhoods, as well as how to access agency assistance for elderly and disabled residents of their neighborhoods or for victims of crime.
The ride-along experience provides COP volunteers with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with SAPD patrol procedures and to establish points of contact with both the substation and with the officers who patrol their neighborhoods. Most COP volunteers have found the ride-along to be one of the most educational and valuable parts of the COP training.
Upon completion of the training COP graduates are presented with a graduation certificate, a photo ID card and a COP T-shirt or hat.
COP PATROLS & NEIGHBORHOODS
The training for the COP Program is based in the SAPD substations, but the program is solidly based within the neighborhoods that are served by each substation. Before training is begun at a substation representatives of the neighborhood groups band together to form a non-profit corporation that will serve as the sponsor of the COP Program in that area. For the Eastside Substation area the neighbors formed East San Antonio Fights Crime; at North they formed Northside Neighbors on Patrol; at Prue it is Northwest Neighborhoods Against Crime; at West it is Greater Westside on Patrol; at Central it is Central Communities on Patrol, and at South it is Southside Neighbors Against Crime.
The purpose of the non-profit group is two-fold. First, the group is the recipient of the cellular phones donated by SBMS as well as the recipient of other donated funds that are used to pay for the COP T-shirts, hats, graduation certificates, ID cards, and other costs associated with production of the program. Second, the non-profit group provides an infrastructure for recruitment of neighborhood association members into the COP Program and a pool of volunteers to assist behind-the-scenes at COP training.
SETTING UP COP PATROLS
After sufficient numbers from a neighborhood group complete the training they set up patrols within their neighborhood using the donated cellular phones. Each neighborhood group of graduates is responsible for establishing their own patrol schedules and procedures, within the limits of the “COP Do’s & Don’ts” presented during training.
COP members are to function only as “eyes and ears” for the police, so included in the Do’s & Don’ts are instructions that COP volunteers will not patrol alone, they will not carry weapons of any sort and they will never confront or chase any suspected wrongdoers.
Depending on group preferences COP patrol members can elect to walk or drive, patrol in short or lengthy shifts, patrol as pairs or in larger groups, patrol at night or in the day, or modify their patrol format to best fit their neighborhood’s needs.
COP PROGRAM RESULTS
The results of the patrol program vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, depending on the crime problems in each area, the strength of the COP patrols and the length of time each patrol group has been active.
COP success stories are numerous. In some neighborhoods crime statistics showed an immediate decrease in incidence of reported property crimes beginning in the months that COP patrols began. In other neighborhoods numbers of reported crimes increased, not because of an increase in crime, but because COP patrol members were reporting crimes that previously would have gone unreported.
In all neighborhoods with active COP patrols neighbors experience greater interaction with other neighbors, COP patrol members get to know their neighborhood police officers better, and residents who are not involved in COP patrols voice their appreciation for the increased feeling of neighborhood security that the COP patrols produce.
The COP Program is now available to all residents of San Antonio and training is offered at all six SAPD substations on a monthly or bi-monthly schedule. Please call or visit your local substation for class schedules and application forms.
Contact your North Cellular-on-Patrol coordinator, Officer James McDonald at 210-207-6086 or firstname.lastname@example.org for the next scheduled class.