GPD eyeing islandwide Neighborhood Watch - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GPD eyeing islandwide Neighborhood Watch

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Last weekend, two elderly women were injured as a result of a home invasion and robbery in Agana Heights. And while that village and only a handful of others have a neighborhood watch program in place, the Guam Police Department is working to implement a much stronger program islandwide.

"Just look out, the Island Neighborhood Watch is coming to Guam to a neighborhood close to you," promised Lt. Arthur Paulino, commander for the Volunteer Services Command of GPD. And while he says GPD has been a reactive department, they're trying to spin up the preventative side of the house. "And the Lt. Governor last year we were discussing how we could help lower crime on Guam and one strategy is to involve our citizens, our island citizens into taking an active approach to crime fighting in their neighborhood so island neighborhood watch is one strategy and It's going beyond reporting crimes," he added.

Part of an islandwide neighborhood watch would involve training in the Community Emergency Response Team, home and business security surveys, tsunami warnings and disaster prevention. And along with having a stronger presence in the community, Lt. Paulino says GPD also plans to incorporate technology into the program. "So the different liaisons have been trained, we're going to use email, maybe Facebook or even Twitter - they're talking this morning about even creating an island neighborhood watch app for the entire island where we can use that app per village so people can report acute and non-acute stuff to the app and this will help us too to develop our intelligence to what's happening in the field," he said.

While plans for an islandwide neighborhood watch program have been in the works for some time, it's become even more on notice in light of recent crime including last weekend's home invasion and robbery of two elderly women in Agana Heights. That very village along with Barrigada and Dededo are only a handful of villages who currently have some sort of neighborhood watch ongoing that consist of community volunteers. Lt. Paulino says this islandwide neighborhood watch would be more law enforcement-centric.

"When there's a crime or some type of disaster in a particular village, it affects not only people in the village, but everyone throughout the island, we all feel the pain, so island neighborhood watch is designed to help people to feel good about themselves in their village so they help solve problems that they see there," he said.

And while there is no specific timeline set just yet, he says the goal is to make people feel safe in their villages but also to encourage them to rise up and be proactive. 
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