(An excellent article on safety issues that was inadvertently left out of the most recent edition of the Glen Park News)
By Ashley Hathaway
We ‘grilled’ Sergeant Aaron Lozada of the San Francisco Police Department, Ingleside Station. In other words, we asked him a lot of questions about crime. He was our featured guest last month at the second of a total of four meetings for our neighborhood block watch group. One thing we learned at this meeting: The crime rate is down in Glen Park, and the number of neighborhood watch groups is up!
I believe there is a correlation.
I first learned about neighborhood watch groups when I attended a “SF SAFE” meeting at the Glen Park Library early last year. SF S.A.F.E. (Safety Awareness For Everyone) was established in 1976 by the SFPD, Their primary goal is to prevent crime and violence and improve the quality of life in San Francisco’s neighborhoods. One way they accomplish this is by assisting in creating Neighborhood Watch groups, and acting as a liaison between individual communities and the SFPD. That’s just what Elly Mayen is doing for us right now. She’s a Public Safety Coordinator for SF SAFE and she met with me shortly after I attended the meeting at the library. She also attends each meeting with our group.
Not only did that meeting at the library open my eyes to the value of neighborhood watch, it gave me a unique opportunity to meet a fellow Glen Park neighbor who happens to live right around the corner from me. After discovering where I lived by the street name on my name tag, she introduced herself to me and explained that her block had a watch group in place and that if I was interested, she would help me take the steps to form my own block watch.
I was interested.
At first, it was a bit of a struggle to get the ball rolling for my immediate block, and at one point, I wasn’t getting a lot of interest from the neighbors. This is when I turned to my fellow neighbor who I met at the library. She suggested I invite my block neighbors to her watch groups’ picnic, and as it turns out, it was a great idea. We had a good turn-out and it really did get the ball rolling.
Since the picnic, my fellow neighbor and I decided we should join our surrounding blocks to form one larger block watch group – since our streets connect at the top & bottom of our blocks. In order to form an official SF SAFE block watch group, your neighbors & a representative from SF SAFE are required to have a total of four meetings.
Her group already had the four required meetings, but they were willing to attend an additional four meetings with my group.
At first I thought four meetings was quite a commitment and wondered what we could possibly talk about in all those meetings – but actually I have been pleasantly surprised. I find these gatherings to be very interesting and quite informative. We not only have the opportunity to discuss crime related events within the greater neighborhood, and the city over-all, at each meeting we have the chance to communicate with each other about specific events and concerns that relate directly to our immediate surroundings. In addition, our SF SAFE representative attends all the meetings and coordinates special guests like Sergeant Aaron Lozada. We all appreciated having Sergeant Lozada at our last meeting and he really shed some light on crime in Glen Park and how we as watchful neighbors can help keep it at bay. Our featured guest for our next meeting: SF SAFE Home Security Expert Rob Mackenzie. I’m looking forward to hearing what Rob has to say about keeping our houses safe.
Glen Park has a total of 17 official SF SAFE block groups – and after our 4th & final meeting in mid March, there will be 18. If you are interested in forming your own SF SAFE neighborhood watch group, contact SF SAFE at 415-673-SAFE (415-673-7233)
Or visit them at www.sfsafe.org