Cedar Hills residents start neighborhood watch program to combat crime
by Laura Haley
contributing writer
Oct 04, 2012 | 1410 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Grand County Sheriff Steve White speaks with members of the Cedar Hills neighborhood about their new neighborhood watch program. Signs will be posted in the neighborhood, located off Murphy Lane south of Moab, and volunteers from the area will patrol and keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles and individuals in an effort to curb home break-ins and thefts. Photo by Laura Haley
Grand County Sheriff Steve White speaks with members of the Cedar Hills neighborhood about their new neighborhood watch program. Signs will be posted in the neighborhood, located off Murphy Lane south of Moab, and volunteers from the area will patrol and keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles and individuals in an effort to curb home break-ins and thefts. Photo by Laura Haley
slideshow
After a series of break-ins in her neighborhood over the last year, Barbara Holcomb decided to find out how the residents of the Cedar Hills neighborhood could better protect themselves. With the help of other interested residents and Grand County Sheriff Steve White, Holcomb organized a neighborhood watch program in the area.

Signs identifying the area as under the protection of a newly formed neighborhood watch program will soon be posted along the streets and roads around Cedar Hills, just off Murphy Lane south of Moab.

The watch group’s first meeting in mid-September had a sort of community picnic atmosphere, with residents wearing nametags, munching on snacks and introducing themselves to neighbors they might not know otherwise.

And while the gathering may have initially appeared informal, Sheriff White said that the socializing was one of the best things the group could do to help each other.

“The best thing is communication,” White said. “The main thing is to get to know each other. Get a feel for who is supposed to be there and who isn’t.”

White introduced the group to a series of tools available on the Grand County Sheriff’s website, including the Uniform Crime Report for Utah, which shows all the crimes that have been committed within certain areas, the Utah Sex Offender Registry, and the vacation house check form.

All of the break-ins in the neighborhood occurred at houses that were empty while the owners were out of town, White said. He explained that the vacation house check form notifies the sheriff’s department to keep an extra eye on the home because it will be vacant.

Quent Baker is one of the residents who helped Holcomb organize the program.

“This is a grassroots program,” Baker said. “We want this to be our program.”

Baker explained that he regularly keeps an eye on suspicious vehicles when he sees them in the neighborhood.

Baker spearheaded the idea of putting the “Neighborhood Watch” signs up in the area.

“The signs let people know that we care about one another, and we look out for one another,” he said.

Holcomb said that even though the signs will only be put up in the Cedar Hills area, local residents throughout the county should keep an eye out for suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.

“This pertains to our whole community, not just here,” she said.

As part of the program, neighbors will keep an eye out for people and vehicles in the neighborhood that they don’t recognize. They will also let others know when they will be out of town, and will call the sheriff’s office if they notice any suspicious activity.

“When in doubt, give us a shout,” White said.

He said that all too often people see something they think is suspicious but they’re afraid to call because it might be nothing.

“I would rather you call us,” White said.

White said that while he’s not sure whether there are any existing neighborhood watch programs within the city limits, the Cedar Hills neighborhood watch is the first in the county, at least in the two years since he became sheriff.

“The great thing about this program is that [the residents] are going to be our eyes and ears,” he said.

For more information about starting a neighborhood watch program, contact the Grand County Sheriff’s Department at 435-259-8115.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.