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October 1, 2012 — In a new “Chief’s Message”, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank focuses on the reduction in crime that occurs when citizens get involved in programs like Neighborhood Watch.

“Becoming involved with the police department is a critical step in reducing crime in your neighborhood,” Chief Burbank says in the seven-minute video. “We are only as effective as the interactions that we have with the community that we serve. In fact, at the point where we in our community say, ‘well, it’s not happening to me, so I’m not going to become involved or even be concerned’ — well, that’s when criminals thrive.”

The video (above) is a conversation between Chief Burbank and Detective Rick Wall, who coordinates SLCPD’s Neighborhood Watch and Volunteer Corps programs. The video breaks down the differences in SLCPD’s volunteer programs:

  • Neighborhood Watch. Any community resident may join and learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for each other and their neighborhoods, and report activities that raise their suspicions. Neighborhood Watch groups may be formed around any geographical unit: a block, apartment complex or business area.
  • Volunteer Corps. This program offers members special training to report and deter crime. Participants must pass a background check, attend monthly meetings, and patrol a minimum of four hours a month. Members of this program are frequently asked to participate in traffic/crowd control at parades and special events, community outreach and education, DUI saturations, and searches for missing/endangered individuals.

While training is offered to all volunteers, Burbank and Wall emphasize that volunteers are neither granted police powers nor are they expected to take action like a police officer, Wall explains. “We want them to just be the eyes and ears of the community and really help make their community safer, which helps everybody,” Wall explains.

There are dozens of Neighborhood Watch groups throughout the city, and another 80 to 90 volunteers who participate in mobile patrol as part of SLCPD’s Volunteer Corps.

If you would like to start a Neighborhood Watch group or join Volunteer Corps, please contact Detective Wall by:

Contact: Reporters seeking comment should contact the Public Information Officer at 801.799.NEWS (6397).