For more information about Citizens Crime Watch or for a free Home Security Survey, email Crime Watch Coordinator Deputy Emil LaVache or call him at (305)292-7116; or call the Sheriff's Substation in your area.

Do-it-yourself Home Security Checklist.

Citizen's Crime Watch: Keep your neighborhood safe

Monroe County Sheriff Bob Peryam is a firm believer in the Citizen's Crime Watch Program, and he would like more Crime Watches in his county.

"Citizen's Crime Watch is a terrific way for people to help keep their neighborhoods safe from crime," Sheriff Roth said. "It isn't hard to set up a Crime Watch, and it only takes a little time and effort on the part of residents. Our current Crime Watch neighborhoods are a perfect example of how the program works. We consistently see lower crime in neighborhoods with active Crime Watch groups. Crime Watch neighborhoods are definitely safer because people are watching out for each other, and because our Crime Watch members are educated in how to keep themselves, their families and their neighborhoods safe."

Citizen's Crime Watch (CCW) members in a particular neighborhood form a network of concerned citizens dedicated to crime prevention. They work in partnership with local law enforcement, becoming additional eyes and ears for those agencies. Frequent Crime Watch meetings are held to educate group members in crime prevention methods and practices. Meetings also provide a venue for citizens to ask questions and pass along concerns to law enforcement officers working in their area of the Keys.

When a member of the Crime Watch sees a suspicious person or vehicle, he or she should call the Sheriff's Office immediately. Through the use of a telephone chain set up by the Crime Watch, members of the group can keep each other informed of incidents taking place in their neighborhood. Using this same telephone chain, and email when applicable, CCW members receive information from law enforcement concerning persons or vehicles sought by authorities and about crimes and crime trends in their particular area of the Keys.

All it takes is for one person in a neighborhood to come forward and volunteer to be a Crime Watch Chairperson. "We just need a point of contact - a person who will act as Chairperson. We will do the rest," says Captain Don Hiller. Captain Hiller is a true believer in the value of the program and a staunch supporter of his upper Keys Crime Watch neighborhoods.

"We'll contact neighbors, schedule meetings and make sure the meetings are interesting, informative and educational," Captain Hiller said. Captain Hiller is the Commander of Sector 7, which includes neighborhoods between mile marker 90.2 (Tavernier Creek Bridge) and the county line at the 112 mile marker of Highway U.S. One, including Ocean Reef and parts of Card Sound Road and State Road 905.

"We have 27 active Crime Watch Groups, but we have over 40 subdivisions in our area. We would like to see them all included in the program," he said.

"We not only make it easy to form a Crime Watch group, it costs nothing and members receive all kinds of free benefits," said Crime Watch Coordinator Deputy Emil LaVache. Deputy LaVache provides each group with free Crime Watch signs to post in their neighborhood, along with house decals, property engraving tools and many crime prevention handouts with useful tips for making homes and neighborhoods safer.

Sheriff Roth would like to see many more Crime Watch groups formed throughout the Florida Keys. The Sheriff's Office currently has 100 such groups county wide with 25 in Sector 1 (Stock Island to the south end of the Seven Mile Bridge); 20 in Sector's 4-5 (north end of the Seven Mile Bridge to the south city limits of Islamorada), 28 in Sector 6 (the city of Islamorada) and 27 in Sector 7.

How a Crime Watch is organized

The Neighborhood Chairperson is the head of the CCW organizational pyramid. His or her responsibilities include the selection of Block Captains and maintenance of a file with their names, addresses and telephone numbers. The Chairperson should also have names, addresses and telephone numbers of everyone participating in the CCW and the order they are to be telephoned in the event of an alert.

Block Captains are in charge of each block within the CCW area. Their responsibilities include maintaining a list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of other Block Captains as well as a list of those Block Watchers in their block.

Block Watchers make up the bulk of the CCW membership. If you are not a Neighborhood Chairperson or a Block Captain, you're a Block Watcher! The primary responsibility of a Block Watcher is to keep alert for suspicious activity and to maintain a telephone chain in its most effective fashion.

It should be emphasized that CCW is by no means a vigilante type organization. A citizen should never attempt to apprehend a suspect. The confrontation of suspicious persons, or the apprehension of criminals should be left to trained law enforcement personnel.

More About Citizen's Crime Watch -

Other documents about Citizen's Crime Watch:

Crime Prevention Tips: an on-line version of our Crime Prevention Tips booklet, written, edited and published by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. The booklet is packed full of useful tips, tricks and advice for making your life as crime resistant as possible. The booklet is also available in Adobe Acrobat Format, and if you would prefer to receive a copy of the printed version, contact the Community Relations Office at 1-800-273-COPS and we will send you one FREE OF CHARGE!

Do It Yourself Security Survey - Use this form to do your own home security survey, or call the Sheriff's Office Community Relations Office at 1-800-273-COPS and we will come to your home and do a more extensive one for you FREE OF CHARGE!

Operation Identification Form - Use this form to keep track of your personal property. If it is stolen, you will have a record of important serial numbers and other identifying information which will assist the Sheriff's Office in tracing it to you if it is recovered. Call the Sheriff's Office Community Relations Office at 1-800-273-COPS, and we will provide you with a special invisible marker or electric engraving tool FREE OF CHARGE to mark your personal property with your driver's license number, in case it is stolen.

Suspect Identification Chart - Here is a guide to help you give a detailed description of a crime suspect to police. If you are a victim of, or a witness to a crime, you should pay close attention to what the perpetrator looks like so responding deputies will have good information to work with in finding her or him.