CORONA, Calif. - Neighborhood Watch has gone to the dogs, quite literally, in Corona, with a local police department program called Dog Walker Watch.
The program is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), which coordinates local law enforcement agencies with people who walk their dogs to enhance community safety.
In essence, they train residents who walk their dogs to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement. "They can’t be everywhere," says one participant we talked to."So, that’s where we come in".
After training on some basics, like teaching that a person isn’t a crime, a behavior is, the humans watch out for things that are "out of place" during their walks. Members of the groups are given dog bandanas and other items with the non-emergency response number to the police department, which they call tips into.
Julie Trapp, walking her shepherd mix, Onyx, has been with the program since 2019.
"You don’t approach or confront people," she explained. "But I’ve called [police] after seeing a couple of young men sitting in a car that I don’t recognize as neighbors." In that circumstance, Trapp said she later saw those men walking around houses checking out the windows and doors. This is an example of typical casing a neighborhood behavior, and not likely friends waiting for someone to come home. A patrol car driving by usually makes a possible criminal leave and avoid the area, which stops crime.
"They know their neighborhood" explained Corona PD Crime Prevention Specialist who handles the program for that city. "This is something that definitely has had an impact on the community, we have reached hundreds of people since it started in 2019".
If you are interested in joining the Corona group, their next meeting is on June 22nd at 7 p.m. in Promenade Park. If you are interested in having the program for your community, you can find more information online.