The Neighborhood Watch program simply tries to formalize what all of us would hope for anyway. "Keep an eye on my home for anything suspicious or unusual and I'll keep an eye on yours." Here are some preventive steps the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department recommends for working together to keep our neighborhood safe:
- Exchange names and contact information with all neighbors whose homes are within sight of yours.
- Let your neighbors know if you're going to be out of town and for how long.
- It's a good idea to tell them if you've given permission for anyone to stay at your home while you're gone or if there will be trades people doing work there.
- If you're traveling you should, of course, suspend newspaper deliveries while you're away. If you see newspapers or other deliveries accumulating on a neighbor's driveway or entrance, move them to a spot that's hard to see from the road.
- If your neighbor's away, it snows and their driveway hasn't been plowed, you might consider making tracks by walking to and from their entrance a few times. That will help create the appearance that the house is occupied.
- If your name is on your mailbox, you might want to remove it. With a name and address, it's very easy for a burglar to find your telephone number. With it, they can call your home to learn if anyone is at home or not.
- First, what to look for. There's no exact science to telling the difference between what's innocent and what's suspicious activity. Common sense and good judgment are the key.
- If a dog is barking excessively; if an unfamiliar car or truck is present, especially when your neighbor's away; if you hear odd noises; or see someone working to get in a door or window, then your suspicion should be aroused.
- Call the house. If no one answers, you might call a few times more. Repeated phone calls just might alert the intruder that someone is watching.
- If there's a vehicle present, take note of its description ie. color, make, model, age, etc. If you can see a license number, write it down.
- If you believe a crime is in progress or that your neighbor might be in danger, call 911.
- If the home in question is on Paseo Encantado, be sure to specify SW or NE.
- If it doesn't seem like an emergency, but it might be good for the sheriff to check things out, call a non-emergency number, either 505-428-3710 or 505-438-3720. A third number to try is 505-986-2455.