COORDINATORS, BLOCK CAPTAINS and MEMBERS
DUTIES OF COMMUNITY WATCH COORDINATOR
The appointment of the proper Coordinator can determine the success of the program. This person should have prestige within the community, an ability to communicate and some free time for activities. The Coordinator is responsible for presiding over all meetings as well as:
- Setting up the initial meeting to explain the concept of The Hannibal Brigade.
- Obtain Block Captains in the neighborhood to set up a file with their names, addresses and phone numbers (home, cell, and work) and emails addresses.
- Serve as a liaison between The Hannibal Brigade and the police department crime prevention practitioner assigned to the area/district/zone.
- Assist in the development of any program that would be beneficial to the community, i.e., court watch, citizen patrol, operation identification, etc.
- Keep a master list of all participants in the The Hannibal Brigade.
- Disseminate information and necessary materials to the Block Captains.
- Attend crime prevention training sessions.
- Schedule location for meetings (3 meetings required per year) as well as obtaining speakers for the meeting.
- Welcome new members to your community and encourage their participation in the The Hannibal Brigade.
- Keep a master list on emergency telephone notification system and/or email notification system.
DUTIES OF BLOCK CAPTAIN
The Block Captains have one of the most important functions in the The Hannibal Brigade, supervising the actual citizen participants who join The Hannibal Brigade in their communities. The Block Captain is responsible for one block, usually 10 to 12 homes, and he/she is expected to:
- Encourage neighborhood participation in the program.
- Compile a list of names for all persons on their assigned block who wish to participate in the program, as well as their address, phone numbers (home, cell and work) and their email address.
- Disseminate information to the citizens/residents in their assigned block.
- Assist The Hannibal Brigade Coordinator with neighborhood meetings.
- Serve as the liaison between assigned block and the coordinator.
- Attend The Hannibal Brigade training.
- Inform citizens/residents in assigned block of the The Hannibal Brigade techniques, i.e., how to observe and report suspicious activities, how to join operation identification, etc.
- Provide incentive for citizens/residents of assigned block to continue their crime prevention efforts.
- Welcome new neighbors to the community and encourage their participation in The Hannibal Brigade.
- Assist in information and maintenance of telephone and/or email notification system for emergencies.
- Relay information on community problems/suspicious activities to the coordinator so the coordinator is able to relate the information to the police department Crime Prevention Practitioner.
- NOTE: The duties of the Block Captain will offer very little change in lifestyle for the citizen involved. Rather, it will provide a means for meeting your neighbors as well as a vehicle for making your community a safer place to live.
Hannibal can’t function effectively without the concerned assistance of responsible citizens. We are depending on you to call and advise us whenever you observe suspicious persons or actions. Some people fail to call the police simply because they are not aware of what seemingly innocent activities might be suspicious. Others may notice suspicious activity and be hesitant to call for fear of seeming to be a “nosey neighbor” or a “crank”. Still others take it for granted that someone else has already called. Call the Lakeland Police Department immediately about suspicious activity…and do it yourself. Don’t worry about “bothering” us because that is what we are here for. Don’t worry about being embarrassed if your suspicions prove unfounded. Think instead of what could happen if you do not act.
What Is Suspicious Activity?
Basically, anything that seems even slightly “out of place” for the area or is occurring at an unusual time of the day could be criminal activity. Some things to watch for and report include:
- A scream heard anywhere may mean a crime is being committed.
- Offers of merchandise or repair work at ridiculously low prices could mean stolen property or some type of fraud.
- Anyone removing accessories, license tags or gas from a vehicle
- Anyone peering into parked vehicles may be looking for a vehicle to steal or looking for valuables left displayed in the vehicle.
- Someone attempting to enter a vehicle using a coat hanger or other device (Never assume that it is the owner who has locked his/her keys in the vehicle)
- Anyone tampering with the hood or trunk of a vehicle.
- An improperly parked vehicle or an abandoned vehicle (someone leaving one vehicle and driving away in another may be signs of a stolen vehicle)
- Any vehicle moving slowly and without lights, or following a course that appears aimless or repetitive (Occupants may be “casing” for places to rob or burglarize, or could possibly be a drug pusher or sex offender)
- A clean car with damaged plates
- Anyone being forced into a vehicle (possible abduction)
- Someone trying to open a neighbor’s door or window.
- A stranger inspecting or entering your neighbor’s home while they are away.
- A moving truck or van pulled up to a neighbor’s home while they are gone (Remember, burglaries often occur at times when they should be most obvious – broad daylight, in full view of observers)
- Someone carrying property such as TV’s, stereos, computers, etc., at a late hour or in an unusual place, especially if it does not appear that the property is newly purchased.
- Someone running from a home or business under unusual circumstances. • The sound of breaking glass or other loud explosive noises (possible accident or house being broken into or vandalizing)
- Someone carrying a weapon.
- Person’s loitering around schools, parks, secluded areas or in the neighborhood
- School age children loitering around the area during school hours
- Business transactions conducted from vehicles, especially around schools, playgrounds or parks (A steady flow of strangers to and from a particular house on a regular basis could indicate drug sales or purchasing of stolen goods).
- Door-to-door solicitors without properly issued licenses and identification
- Persons around the neighborhood who don’t live there
- A stranger talking to or offering a child some candy, a gift or coaxing them to get into a vehicle
- Continuous “repair” operations at a non-business location could mean stolen property being stripped, repainted and otherwise altered
- Person exhibiting unusual mental or physical symptoms (may be injured, under the influence of drugs or otherwise needing medical or psychiatric assistance) While this list points out many suspicious situations, it is by no means a complete record of all instances that can occur. While some, if not all of the above listed situations could have innocent explanations, the Lakeland Police Department would rather investigate a crime prone situation than to be called when it is too late.