Beyond traffic tickets and neighborhood watch programs, how much do you know about your community police department? Did you know that most police departments now have Web pages offering a slew of important information like home safety tips, listings of recent crime activity, and child-friendly advice on topics like bullying or strangers? Here are some surprising and not-so-surprising things you might expect from your friendly neighborhood police department:
Neighborhood Watch or Block Watch Programs: Neighbors and police officers work together to help lower crime through a neighborhood watch program. During an initial series of meetings, residents learn how to become the extended eyes and ears of the police department, including how to report suspicious or unusual activity and where to forward that information. Participants of a neighborhood watch also learn the best techniques for securing their homes and property, along with tips on personal safety from a member of the police department.
House Watch: A local police department often offers a house watch program for people who will be away for an extended period time. All you have to do is give the dates of your departure and arrival. A police officer will come to your home daily and check the premises for any signs of entry—a great service for frequent travelers.
D.A.R.E or M.A.D.D.: Most police departments work with community programs like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) to curtail important neighborhood issues like drug and alcohol abuse. Uniformed police officers offer talks and workshops discussing the dangers of drugs and driving under the influence by using moving stories and firsthand knowledge. Look for flyers in places like schools and community recreation centers to find out about meetings in your area.
Youth Programs: Any police department is well known for working with children in the community. From fingerprinting kits to tours of the community jail, a local police department offers different youth-centered programs throughout the year. Families with very small children should be on the lookout for special car seat inspection events, or call your local police department to see if you can bring your car in for a quick inspection. Another great resource is your local K-9 units. Children respond to animals, so K-9 units are usually available to visit schools or scouting troops for a fun and educational talk.
Along with these opportunities, a neighborhood police department is always willing to work with its community to help stop all types of crime. From theft to speeding to vandalism, if there is a problem in your neighborhood, the police department should be your first resource.…