What ever happened to “Neighborhood Watches” in Hoboken?

Every now and then, you’ll spot a “Neighborhood Watch” sign in Hoboken. It used to serve as a “warning” to potential criminals that these family-oriented streets were cared for, and that the mile square residents gave a crap about the integrity of the place they all called home – and that these scumbags would be caught.

Now, with the recent uptick in crime all over town, it seems that the neighborhood watch doesn’t really pull it’s weight anymore. Why is that?

I boiled it down to two major reasons:

  • Hoboken is no longer the multi-generational city it used to be. We have a lot of newcomers, obsessed with their statuses, social pecking order, etc. “Every family for themselves” in other words.
  • Technology. Excessive TV, social media, smartphones, constant distractions, headphones and the like. Who’s paying attention to their surroundings instead of their micro-personal entertainment?

Hoboken Neighborhood Watch and crime on the streets

What would it take to “take our city back” from the criminals?

For one, I think that people actually have to care. To feel that they make a difference. I’m sure that the bystander who calls police when they notice something (truly) nefarious going on feels like they’re doing something positive (and this goes way beyond calling the cops because a vagrant is sifting through trash).

However, those moments are just happenstance. Not a dedicated “watch” of the neighborhood. Right place, right time, I suppose.

But what if the residents of each and every block got together and formed a plan?

Maybe a “citizen army” is a bit of a stretch, but if more people organized, and spent more time outside for extended periods of time (regardless of weather), and got off their devices and sofas, milled around the community in some kind of systematic, yet sustainable way – we could make a drastic difference. Sadly, when the (now dissolved) Hoboken Community Policing Bureau tried rallying residents to revive the program back in 2009 – there was hardly any interest. About a dozen people out of 50,000+ showed up for the meeting. Oh well.

It’d be nice if we could use our technology (cell phones) for the betterment of Hoboken (and not just telling your contacts how “yummy” your soy-frappucino was) – perhaps we can turn the tide on the downward spiral these gadgets are taking us on.

How would you suggest making your neighborhood safer?

(This was the original attempt to revive the program back in 2009…)

Revive the Hoboken Neighborhood Watch Program?

10/29/2009:

We’ve all seen some signs that were remnants of a once-active Hoboken “Neighborhood Watch” program peppered around town. Well, Police Chief Anthony Falco and Lieutenant Ken Ferrante (of the HPD Community Policing Bureau) are currently gauging resident interest in reviving such a program once again! Awesome!

Would you like to participate?

HPD Neighborhood Blockwatch Pilot Program

Chief Anthony Falco and the Hoboken Police Community Policing Bureau are considering bringing back a program that was highly successful in the early 90’s, the Neighborhood Blockwatch Program.

A Neighborhood Blockwatch Program consists of residents from a given city street, working together with the police department to attack quality of life problems, and to be more vigilant in watching for suspicious persons on the street and contacting the police department immediately when seeing such a person. The members of the neighborhood block watch group become the eyes and ears of the street for the police department. They will meet once a month with their community police officer to go over some crime prevention tips and to discuss some crime trends in the area, as well as forming a bond with that community police officer in order for the police department to obtain information on any type of criminal activity that may be present in the given area.

The Hoboken Police Department is looking to see if there is interest in the program before looking into funding it and putting the work hours into developing it. We would like to hear from any interested residents. Please contact the department with your contact information and those of your neighbors that would be interested. The Community Policing Bureau will then look to see which city block or building has the most interest and begin a pilot blockwatch program there within the next month. If the pilot block or building is successful, the department will expand the program to other areas.

If you and your neighbors are interested, please contact the Hoboken Community Policing Bureau via e-mail at CPOP@Hobokenpd.org or by phone at 201-222-7620.