On August 1, 20 Clarkston residents met as part of an enlivened Neighborhood Watch Group. They met to share concerns and possible solutions and discuss crime in the community with the Clarkston Police Department. Residents had responded to postings online about a Neighborhood Watch Group started by Adrya Stembridge.
When Adrya Stembridge moved to Clarkston in 2010, she left a very active neighborhood watch group. Upon moving to Clarkston, she learned that there were no active neighborhood watch groups in her area. She asked around and found a neighborhood watch group nearby, but despite efforts, was never invited to join.
Following a burglary in August 2010, Adrya secured her own property and set out to start an open neighborhood watch group. Adrya found Nextdoor.com, an online, private, social network for communities where community members can share alerts and discuss issues with one another in a private forum.
Adrya spoke about her hopes for the neighborhood watch group, “My goal is not to interfere with existing groups but to advocate for creation of Neighborhood Watch groups where none exist, and to bridge our groups together in ways that are not being done today. What happens on my street affects those living in neighborhoods around me. As we build an inclusive network through Nextdoor, residents and business owners can work together as a single unit, assisting CPD and sharing crime tips and information with each other. We need to break down traditional barriers such as neighborhood and city/county boundaries, and open the lines of communication for the entire area.”
When asked why she selected Nextdoor as the platform of choice, Adrya responded, “The benefit of Nextdoor is that all members must verify their address as part of registration. This means that there are no anonymous members, or members randomly joining that do not live in your neighborhood, perhaps for nefarious reasons. As a computer developer, I’ve spent some time comparing Nextdoor to other products on the market over the past few years. The Nextdoor user interface is solid, and the site is very easy to use.”
The next Neighborhood Watch Group meeting is at 7:30pm on September 5, 2013 at the Clarkston Commmunity Center.
Tips from the Neighborhood Watch Group
- Identify gateways (holes in fences, broken fences) between apartments and neighborhoods and work with apartment owners to have these fences fixed.
- Mow down thick brush in areas where potential attacks can be staged/launched.
- Introduce yourself to unfamiliar people walking down your street. Be friendly, and let them know you maintain an active presence.
- Seclusion and lack of sharing information reduces the amount of eyes on the street.
- Utilize social networking (Nextdoor) to share information about unfamiliar people walking in yards, cars driving slowly through our streets — after you’ve called 911.
- Use motion detection cameras to identify trespassers or individuals attempting to break into homes/buildings. Some motion detecting cameras have wireless built in and can automatically send photos to an email address (smart phone).
- If taking photos by hand, be sure to get the person’s shoes in one of your pictures. Shoes rarely change and are a very helpful way of identifying people.