Neighborhood Watch Neighbors
By John Teng
Several months ago, a very prominent couple in our neighborhood was forcibly tied up by 4 men who entered their home on a dark rainy evening. Fortunately, the couple was left relatively unharmed after the men got what they wanted. The men left the couple tied up in their home before fleeing the house. With time, the couple was able to break free and called 911. I remember seeing the news van outside broadcasting on the incident and thinking to myself enough is enough. Our own home had been burglarized while we were away and I am aware of other families in our neighborhood who had experienced a burglary, but this time it was different. This time the criminals were bolder. There was no sneaking around, this was in my neighbor’s face, and give the intruders what they want or suffer the consequences.
To my knowledge, the role of Area coordinator had been left vacant for many years before I raised my hand and offered to help. I went through a background check and an informal interview process with the police chief and the next thing I know I am the point man for our neighborhood.
Here is a portion of the email that I sent out to my neighbors regarding the Neighborhood Watch National Night Out https://natw.org/
Since I am so new to this role, I was under the impression that the neighborhood higher ups were going to be sending an email invitation out to all the neighbors living within my area of responsibility, but the day before the event I was told that it was my job to contact everybody! On one day’s notice I sent out an email to a very limited list of families who had previously subscribed to the Neighborhood Watch email. The email list was so old that I estimate about 60% of the list bounced back. Here is an excerpt of the email that I sent out to my families:
My name is John Teng and I am the newly appointed Neighborhood Watch Area Coordinator for our neighborhood. I wanted to extend a personal invitation to you families and your fellow neighbors to come to my home tomorrow evening between 5:30 and 7:30PM to meet other families in our neighborhood, and to also learn how we can all work together to strengthen our Neighborhood Watch program. Please reply to this email so that I can prepare enough snacks for everybody! I am looking forward to meeting you all as well!
To my surprise, with about 24 hours’ notice, I had a group of about 40 total strangers at my house thanking me for taking on the role as Area Coordinator for the neighborhood and asking how they could help me. After all these years without a Neighborhood Watch presence in my neighborhood, it turns out that all my neighbors needed was for someone to get the ball rolling. I left that initial meet and greet with more enthusiasm than ever to do what I could with the help of other concerned neighbors to make our neighborhood a safer place to live for the future.
And I encourage all of you to learn more about how you can participate in your own local Neighborhood Watch programs. Please visit http://nnw.org/find-a-watch-program to find a Neighborhood Watch program near you!
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