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Combatting Crime In Our Communities


Sheriff Thomas L Johnson

Combatting Crime in Our Communities

As part of the community, the Sheriff's Office plays an important role in keeping the community safe. However, there cannot be a deputy on every corner, so citizen involvement is essential to combat crime.

You and your neighbors are the ones who really know what is going on in your community. By cooperating with each other and law enforcement, people can help fight crime in their community in the most effective way - before it begins. An active Neighborhood Watch is one of the most successful and least costly crime prevention programs available.

The National Sheriffs Association created the Neighborhood Watch program in 1972 to help improve community safety, bring neighborhoods together and increase awareness of neighborhood activities.

Crime prevention programs were intended to give residents a feeling of responsibility for the condition and safety of their neighborhood, and each crime prevention program served as a link between neighborhoods and law enforcement to reduce all forms of crime.

Together, the Sheriff's Office and the neighborhood volunteers work to implement the principles of crime deterrence and detection while encouraging the active reporting of crimes and suspicious activity. Neighborhood Watch is designed to:

  • Teach citizens techniques to reduce the risk of being victimized at home or in public.
  • Train citizens on how to recognize and report suspicious activities.
  • Help neighborhoods to make homes more secure.
  • Encourage neighbors to get to know each other so that any out of place activity can be recognized, reported, and investigated.

Crime Facts

There are three basic elements needed for a crime to occur:

  • Ability to commit the crime
  • Criminal Intent
  • Opportunity to commit the crime


As individuals, we have little control over a person's desire to commit a crime. However, we have considerable control over opportunities offered and the ability required. Many crimes are crimes of opportunity, requiring very little special ability. Therefore, if we reduce opportunities for crime and make crime more difficult, we will significantly reduce the risk.

Your Responsibilities

It's actually very simple.  There are three main responsibilities of Neighborhood Watch members: observation, communication and home/property security. 

  1. Observation is paying attention to what is happening around you.  Keep an eye out for your neighbors and their property as well as your own. Residents are the best experts on what is normal and acceptable in their own neighborhood.
  2. Communication is simply passing on your observations or information you receive.  If you witness suspicious behavior or discover a crime, report it to the Sheriff's Office immediately.
    • For emergencies, dial 911
    • Otherwise call the non-emergency Dispatch line at 620-364-2123
    • Submit crime tips through our website-
  3. Home/Property Security involves each person taking a critical look at their home, their habits and the entire neighborhood to ensure the area is not inviting to criminals.  This includes assessing physical security measures, lighting, clean-up and other features to create the safest environment possible. 

Tips for Keeping your Home & Surroundings Safe

  • Use smart lights and other devices to create the impression that you are home. Make use of timers.
  • Install motion-sensor lights outside of your home.
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Utilize blinds and curtains.
  • Get a reliable security system installed.
  • Devices such as Ring Doorbell can make potential burglars think you're home even when you are not. These doorbells are great when delivery services attempt to leave a package. Talk with them live and ask that they hold the box at a facility instead of leaving it in plain view.Ring doorbells $59.00 - camera systems Simply Safe $20/month/ADT $65/month
  • Get to know people in your neighborhood so you can recognize suspicious people.
  • Keep your neighbors informed.
  • Keep your vacation dates off social media.
  • Get a dog.
  • Keep your yard well maintained.
  • Never leave anything out in plain sight inside your car.
  • Do not keep garage door openers in a car parked outside.
  • Keep personal information hidden by using a paper shredder.
  • Hang Neighborhood Watch signs.
  • Improve lighting at your street.

Tips for Keeping Children Safe

  • Be aware of your children's location.
  • Get your kids well-acquainted with the neighborhood.
  • Know your children's friends. Set boundaries for where they can go.
  • Teach problem-solving skills to your children.

Conclusion: 8 Simple Ways to Make Your Neighborhood Safer

  1. Make friends with neighbors
  2. Organize neighborhood safety efforts
  3. Keep up your yard
  4. Install a security system
  5. Exercise caution when out of town
  6. Close windows and blinds at night
  7. Improve lighting on your street
  8. If you see something, say something