Find out how you can become involved in the Yakima Block Watch program and make your neighborhood a safer place. Keep checking this page for more information.
Call the Community Services Office with the Yakima Police Department at 575-6197 for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Crime Prevention takes a Community Effort.
Cooperative community effort is still society’s most effective tool in accomplishing objectives too large for individuals. An isolated individual may have little control over his/her environment, but in cooperation with others, can accomplish much.
You and your neighbors can prevent crime within your community and make it a safer, more secure place to live. Even though today’s life styles sometimes make it difficult to be as neighborly as we’d like, being a good neighbor can be your best protection when you band together to look out for each other’s interests.
Block Watch can help prevent and reduce:
- Residential Burglaries and Break-ins
- Gang Activity
- Drug Activity
- Vehicle Prowling
Many such crimes, including increases in crimes against property and vehicle theft, are connected to an increase in drug trafficking/usage and gang activity. The impact such crimes have on the community resources affects us all. Participation in Block Watch fights the isolation and separation that crime creates and feeds upon, it forges bonds among your neighbors, helps reduce burglaries and other crimes, and improves relations between the police and the community they serve.
Dear Block Watch Participants,
Here are some simple techniques to assist you and your neighbors improving the safety and security of your neighborhood. PLEASE practice these techniques and teach them to your family.
- Be alert and call the police when you see suspicious activity.
- Install deadbolt locks on all exterior doors and use them. Secure all windows with quality locks as well.
- Turn on your outside lights at night, every night!
- If you have a residential burglar alarm, use it!
- Do not give out personal information to anyone you don’t know. Cross shred all documents with any personal information.
- Close your garage door whether you are home or away.
- Lock all vehicles parked outside. Remove all valuables and garage door openers.
- Notify a trusted neighbor or family member if you are away. Leave them emergency contact information. Stop newspapers and mail delivery. Have your lawn mowed or snow shoveled while you are away.
What is Block Watch?
Block Watch is a program sponsored by the Yakima Police Department, to help people organize on a block-by-block basis to prevent crime in their neighborhood. Block watch is not a patrol, but a network of neighbors looking out for each other. A police officer patrolling your neighborhood may not recognize a stranger in your yard, but your neighbors would.
Statistics show a 50-85% reduction in burglaries for Yakima Neighborhoods once they have initiated the Block Watch Program.
How Does Block Watch Work?
Block Watch is based on neighbor helping neighbor. One or two residents are designated as Block Captain/Co-Captain and function as the liaison between residents and the Police Department. The residents watch out for each other’s homes and report suspicious activities to the police and to each other to reduce the likelihood of a burglary and other crimes occurring on their street. Families on a block form a communication chain aided by a block map of names, addresses and phone numbers. The Block Watch program is not intended to form citizen crime watch patrol or vigilante groups. You are asked only to report the situation to the police and let them handle it. It is not a good idea to confront any suspicious person (s) or attempt to make an arrest yourself; your safety could be in jeopardy.
How Do I Start A Block Watch In My Neighborhood?
It’s easy as 1- 2 – 3
- Contact the Community Services Office at the Police Department.
- You will receive a packet of information and can then go to your neighbors. To find out how many are interested in being involved, take along flyers provided in the packet. If you have the required 50% interested, you’re half way there.
- Arrange a meeting with your neighbors. A police officer will be there to explain the Block Watch Program to you.
What are the requirements of an active Block Watch?
- A meeting for neighbors where a police officer will explain the program. At his meeting the group will elect a Captain and Co-Captain who will act as liaisons with the Police Department.
- A map of your block listing participating houses with names and telephone numbers of residents must be updated annually.
- Participation in Operation Identification (marking removeable valuables with driver’s license numbers using an electronic engraving pen which is provided by the Police Department)
What should be reported as suspicious activities and how should these be reported?
Residents are encouraged to report activities such as:
- A person carrying household property on foot.
- Someone peering into parked cars or removing license plates or car accessories.
- Strangers loitering or driving through the neighborhood: Someone going door to door, trying to open doors or going around to the back.
- Unusual or “odd” behavior that seems “out of place” in your neighborhood.
- Youth in neighborhood during school hours.
Any crime in progress or other emergency should be reported to police by calling 911. Other non-emergency situations should be reported to the business number 575-6200.
Coming Soon: Business Watch
Yakima Police Department “Business Watch” is being set up and will launch sometime soon. The program works like Block Watch with business neighbors keeping an eye on one another’s property. There are groups forming for both downtown and west side merchants
For more information, contact Community Services Officers Amy Hayes or Nikki Sandino at 575-6197.