TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — In an effort to reduce crime, law enforcement agencies are asking people to be more active in their communities. One way is through expanding neighborhood crime watch programs.
When it comes to keeping crime down and unwanted guests out, in a lot of cases, it can all start by being a good neighbor.
"It makes me feel very, very safe. I don't go to bed at night worrying about crime," said Janice Longordo.
Longordo lives in the Highgrove neighborhood off Thomasville Road in Tallahassee. She's lived here for seven years and attributes the safety and protection of her community to having good neighbors.
"Knock on wood Highgrove has been pretty fortunate and blessed. We don't have a tremendous amount of crime, but again that has come from good communication," said Longordo.
Longordo's neighborhood is part of Leon County Sheriff's Office's 30 neighborhood watch programs.
Captain Jimmy Goodman said he saw a decrease of about a dozen neighborhood watches after the pandemic and is now pushing for people to get active again to help reduce crime. "We're encouraging people to get back in and get reengaged with us. We want to be there. We're already there for their service, we want to provide a better one," said Goodman.
Here's how it works.
Members of law enforcement come into neighborhoods that are interested in starting a program to help establish roles for community members and educate them on what to look out for.
That way if they see a suspicious vehicle, have a package theft, or a speeding problem they can have a more streamlined communication with officers to report it.
Tallahassee Police Department Community Relations Officer David Alford said they have around 200 neighborhood and apartment watch programs throughout the city. He said the program allows them to be in more places at one time.
"It helps us because it's a force multiplier for the police department because the neighborhood becomes the eyes and ears within the community to tell us when something's not right and to be able to reach out to law enforcement," said Alford.
Longordo said the key to a successful program is getting to know your neighbors and having an open form of communication.
"It's got to be a group effort. It can't just be the Sheriff's Department or just the neighborhood. Everybody has to work together and that's the main thing they've really worked on and done a great job with is opening up that communication."
Goodman believes as more people get involved the safer our community will be. "Active neighborhood crime watch crime goes down. People are watching. People are reporting and we are moving the thieves out of that neighborhood," said Goodman.
If you're interested in starting a neighborhood watch in your community, you can reach out to TPD if you live in the city and LCSO if you live outside city limits.