Fed up with crime Historic District to form Neighborhood Watch

March 05, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula Times Fed up with a recent rash of crime in the Historical District those living on and around East Santa Paula Street are starting a Neighborhood Watch with a March 11 kickoff meeting.

The Tuesday meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Depot, located at the corner of 10th and East Santa Barbara streets.

“The Historical District and surrounding areas have had a large increase in crimes,” said the Neighborhood Watch organizing meeting coordinator, who asked to remain anonymous. “We want you to please join your neighbors to ensure that these crimes do not continue... “

The area being organized are streets between East Santa Paula Street and Santa Barbara Street bordered by 6th Street to the west and 10th Street to the east, although all that live in the adjacent area are invited to attend the meeting.

“If we get a really big turnout we can always start other Neighborhood Watch groups,” said the organizer, who was prompted to take action after a recent incident near her home.

“I was already thinking about forming a Neighborhood Watch,” when a disturbance broke out on her block on a Friday night in February that involved a fight, weapons and people fleeing and shouting as they ran across her property.

“With the gunfire and people wielding weapons it was too much for me. So when I called 911,” the Santa Paula Police Dispatcher, “told me they’d already had about 15 people call it in.”

In addition, “About a year ago our garage was broken into,” and the thief took bicycles and guitars, but what was especially distressing was, “A friend’s grandson was killed,” in the neighborhood a few blocks away. 

“That,” she noted, “was tragic... “

Called upon to oversee the new Neighborhood Watch was SPPD Cadet Martha Reynolds-Brown: “I called Martha because I knew she was the Neighborhood Watch coordinator,” as well as active with Citizens Patrol, CERT and her own Oaks NW organization.

With the jump in crime in Santa Paula including six homicides in 2013, “Although I had been talking about it for a long time but this time I knew it was time to act... when I’m sitting in my living room with friends and hear ‘Bang! Bang! Bang!’ and people run through my yard yelling, I’m so over it!”

The Oaks NW overseen by Reynolds-Brown is a model, said the Santa Paula Street resident: “It’s doing really well. It’s simple as the whole mindset is to keep your eyes open, remember that if something doesn’t look right or feel right it probably isn’t, watch your neighbors’ back, call the police and let the bad guys know this will not stand. We’re not going to let them turn Santa Paula into the Wild West!”

At the March 11 meeting Police Chief Steve McLean will give a presentation on Neighborhood Watch and answer questions, and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members address specific dangers and concerns in Historical District neighborhoods.

The program will also include a presentation by a professional on general emergency preparedness. 

For more information visit: www.santapaulaneighborhoodwatch.blogspot.com 

For a past article on a 2009 citywide Neighborhood Watch effort and meeting that has more information on the program visit: http://www.santapaulatimes.com/news/archivestory.php/aid/18139/First-ever_citywide_Neighborhood_Watch_meeting_set_for_March_10.html

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