Bring Neighborhood Watches back?

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.

30 Responses

  1. whewwhewwhew says:

    If I volunteer do I get free Health Care, 80% Pension and can I retire in 20 years?

  2. matt1122 says:

    Watch out, next the police will be assigning hall monitors and bus patrol. Sorry, but Neighborhood Watch is a joke in any community with less than moderate crime rates. In an inner city where you might otherwise not get any information because of a “no snitching” policy it makes sense, but around here it’s a waste. If they want to enact it in the bad neighborhoods of Hoboken, that might make sense, but if some hag tells me my leash is two feet too long and that I’d better fix it because she’s on the neighborhood watch – you’re going to see the assault and battery rate on my block skyrocket.

  3. whineanddineinhob says:

    Is this their way of telling us that all the camera’s situated around town are failing and a huge chunk of money was wasted?

    • animal_lover says:

      Whine, good on you – you pegged it years ago! Maybe our neighbor might have been found by now had Hoboken admin headed your note.[quote comment=”177615″]Is this their way of telling us that all the camera’s situated around town are failing and a huge chunk of money was wasted?[/quote]

      • whineanddineinhob says:

        Thanks Animal-lover. The real shame of the matter is all the crime that has sky rocketed including the death of the homeless man, smashed windshields, cars on blocks, apartment break-ins, destroyed property around town including destroyed greenery, store windows, robberies just to name a few. All of this during the administration of Dawnless Zimmer who had the balls to recently blame this on a previous mayor citing the NJ State takeover as a reason for not repairing these cameras. Is this fool aware that it’s her 2nd term at the helm? These creepy bastards who killed that homeless . her cronies salaries, and hire more foolish attorneys that are losing cases left and right against city employees. Does anyone know if a law suit is in the works by the relatives of those injured or killed citing these inoperative cameras? Will they settle for less with behind closed door settlements? I hope not. Zimmer should be held personally responsible as I still believe she still has an axe to grind with the Police department for not finding the hit and run driver who killed her father in law. Although I don’t believe there were cameras throughout the city at that time, wouldn’t that have been enough for any sane mayor to make these cameras operational?[quote comment=”222950″]Whine, good on you – you pegged it years ago! Maybe our neighbor might have been found by now had Hoboken admin headed your note.[/quote]

      • whineanddineinhob says:

        Sentence screwed up midway beginning “These creepy bastards who killed that homeless man would still be walking the streets if it weren’t for the NJ transit cameras near the PATH light rail. Yet this clueless mayor still find the bucks to raise her cronies salaries, and hire more foolish attorneys that are losing cases left and right against city employees.”[quote comment=”222952″]Thanks Animal-lover. The real shame of the matter is all the crime that has sky rocketed including the death of the homeless man, smashed windshields, cars on blocks, apartment break-ins, destroyed property around town including destroyed greenery, store windows, robberies just to name a few. All of this during the administration of Dawnless Zimmer who had the balls to recently blame this on a previous mayor citing the NJ State takeover as a reason for not repairing these cameras. Is this fool aware that it’s her 2nd term at the helm? These creepy bastards who killed that homeless . her cronies salaries, and hire more foolish attorneys that are losing cases left and right against city employees. Does anyone know if a law suit is in the works by the relatives of those injured or killed citing these inoperative cameras? Will they settle for less with behind closed door settlements? I hope not. Zimmer should be held personally responsible as I still believe she still has an axe to grind with the Police department for not finding the hit and run driver who killed her father in law. Although I don’t believe there were cameras throughout the city at that time, wouldn’t that have been enough for any sane mayor to make these cameras operational?[/quote]

  4. drdrool says:

    The cops should do their job instead. Neighborhood watch programs work in the suburbs that are concerned with kids causing mischief. Here they have guns to stick you up with.
    This is such a joke it hurts me.

  5. midtownauthentic says:

    We have this program already, it is called Hoboken411.com

  6. Dr.Chico says:

    Amazing idea, let’s pay they top salary and do their job for them! Also, if anybody is interested, I am having an accounting watch group formed as well – feel free to inquire with me on how to do my job and I will provide more info.

  7. nighthawk says:

    I’ll do it if I can drive around in a car with a yellow strobe light on top, a flashlight and a whistle. Oh and I also need 20% off at Dunkin Donuts.

    • Thomas Jefferson says:

      You’ll need a carry permit (hard to get), a pistol, and know how to hit a target in fewer shots that NYPD’s undercover finest when you think that you’re in combat.

      In response to nighthawk who said:

      I’ll do it if I can drive around in a car with a yellow strobe light on top, a flashlight and a whistle. Oh and I also need 20% off at Dunkin Donuts.

  8. homeworld says:

    In other news, the Hoboken Fire Department is thinking about bringing back the Volunteer Fire Department.

  9. Journey says:

    Have any of you ever been on a neighborhood watch or attended a meeting?

    I was just a kid when my family was part of neighborhood watch. We didn’t interact with the vandals and trouble makers, we reported what we saw to the police. We acted as additional eyes and ears.

    Having more eyes on the town isn’t a bad thing.

    • plywood says:

      Clearly, the idea here is to criticize, not make sense.

      In response to Journey who said:

      Have any of you ever been on a neighborhood watch or attended a meeting?

      I was just a kid when my family was part of neighborhood watch. We didn’t interact with the vandals and trouble makers, we reported what we saw to the police. We acted as additional eyes and ears.

      Having more eyes on the town isn’t a bad thing.

    • hobokenj says:

      Having more eyes can be a bad thing. Think of the people that come on this site and just whine and complain. Now imagine them out there on the streets calling the police for every little thing that they dont like. snapping pictures of people. Guaranteed someone gets hurt.

      In response to Journey who said:

      Have any of you ever been on a neighborhood watch or attended a meeting?

      I was just a kid when my family was part of neighborhood watch. We didn’t interact with the vandals and trouble makers, we reported what we saw to the police. We acted as additional eyes and ears.

      Having more eyes on the town isn’t a bad thing.

      • Journey says:

        How many of them would even spend the energy to volunteer? To type up a complaint from the comfort of one’s own desk is one thing, to get up and act is another.

        I propperly run NW would include some training on what to do and how. I remeber that from when I was kid going on patrol with my father.

        In response to hobokenj who said:

        Having more eyes can be a bad thing. Think of the people that come on this site and just whine and complain. Now imagine them out there on the streets calling the police for every little thing that they dont like. snapping pictures of people. Guaranteed someone gets hurt.

  10. Furey says:

    Mainstream social networking tools are also being used to keep the public informed and connected. The Police Department in Dallas, Texas, for example, uses Twitter to put out crime alerts, as do the police in Boston, Massachusetts with the @Boston_Police account. The Police Department in Richmond, Virginia, meanwhile, uses both Facebook and Twitter to connect with the public and answer questions.

    Local neighborhood crime watches are also finding social media tools useful. The Shreiber Crime Watch in Dallas, Texas uses a blog and SMS alerts to keep citizens up-to-date about potential threats, and the Safe Atlanta for Everyone neighborhood watch program in Atlanta, Georgia uses a Twitter account in addition to a blog to stay connected with the public.

    I don’t see why the same can’t be true for Hoboken.

    • Thomas Jefferson says:

      Maybe that works in towns and cities that have real neighborhoods with residents who know each other and share share each others’ goals and have a stake in a clean, safe, well run place to live.

      With the exception of the Italian American neighborhood that Mayor Russo called home and the projects in the southwest, the rest of Hoboken doesn’t have neighborhoods because it’s primarily a town of transients who still vote where mommy and daddy live “to make their votes count” and still drive cars with out of state plates after living in this town for years.

      Do you know the names of your neighbors? Do you do more than nod when you see them? Do they even glance at you when you nod?

      I have played a game of greeting neighbors and others I pass on the street on Sunday mornings while strolling with my dog and tallied how many returned my greetings. My rate of replies was about 3%, and most who replied were long time owners or new transients from the midwest, west coast, or south.

      That plan won’t work in this town.

      In response to Furey who said:

      Mainstream social networking tools are also being used to keep the public informed and connected. The Police Department in Dallas, Texas, for example, uses Twitter to put out crime alerts, as do the police in Boston, Massachusetts with the @Boston_Police account. The Police Department in Richmond, Virginia, meanwhile, uses both Facebook and Twitter to connect with the public and answer questions.

      Local neighborhood crime watches are also finding social media tools useful. The Shreiber Crime Watch in Dallas, Texas uses a blog and SMS alerts to keep citizens up-to-date about potential threats, and the Safe Atlanta for Everyone neighborhood watch program in Atlanta, Georgia uses a Twitter account in addition to a blog to stay connected with the public.

      I don’t see why the same can’t be true for Hoboken.

      • Journey says:

        I’m a new comer (3 years) who votes here, knows my neighbors and says hello to everyone. I know the names of dogs and people ask me how the baby is doing.

        In response to Thomas Jefferson who said:

        Maybe that works in towns and cities that have real neighborhoods with residents who know each other and share share each others’ goals and have a stake in a clean, safe, well run place to live.

        With the exception of the Italian American neighborhood that Mayor Russo called home and the projects in the southwest, the rest of Hoboken doesn’t have neighborhoods because it’s primarily a town of transients who still vote where mommy and daddy live “to make their votes count” and still drive cars with out of state plates after living in this town for years.

        Do you know the names of your neighbors? Do you do more than nod when you see them? Do they even glance at you when you nod?

        I have played a game of greeting neighbors and others I pass on the street on Sunday mornings while strolling with my dog and tallied how many returned my greetings. My rate of replies was about 3%, and most who replied were long time owners or new transients from the midwest, west coast, or south.

        That plan won’t work in this town.

      • plywood says:

        ! That’s not my experience. My neighbors are very friendly. Maybe it is a problem in some new multi-family residential units?

        In response to Thomas Jefferson who said:

        Maybe that works in towns and cities that have real neighborhoods with residents who know each other and share share each others’ goals and have a stake in a clean, safe, well run place to live.

        With the exception of the Italian American neighborhood that Mayor Russo called home and the projects in the southwest, the rest of Hoboken doesn’t have neighborhoods because it’s primarily a town of transients who still vote where mommy and daddy live “to make their votes count” and still drive cars with out of state plates after living in this town for years.

        Do you know the names of your neighbors? Do you do more than nod when you see them? Do they even glance at you when you nod?

        I have played a game of greeting neighbors and others I pass on the street on Sunday mornings while strolling with my dog and tallied how many returned my greetings. My rate of replies was about 3%, and most who replied were long time owners or new transients from the midwest, west coast, or south.

        That plan won’t work in this town.

      • uptown girl says:

        Community policing is a great idea. If only the police dispatchers would citizen complaints seriously. A few years ago, I called because a group of kids were making a habit of hanging out and drinking on our building’s steps. When I asked if they could send someone out to ask the kids to move along (which I had done myself days before,) the dispatcher said she did not see what the problem was and made a “you were young once” comment, for good measure. Soon there after the graffiti started. A call to a few council members resulted in increased patrols and the problem was resolved.

        Community policing should be happening all the time and does not require nifty signs. Who among us is not walking around with a cell phone. If you see something that should not be happening, REPORT the problem, call 201-420-2100 from you cell phone. (911 from your cell involves going through an centralized operator who then connects you to the HPD.) Do not assume that someone else has called.

        TJ #13 –

        Fortunately I live in a building and block were there is a strong sense of neighborhood. Admittedly, in Hoboken the neighborhoods are often only one or 2 blocks, but that maybe due to the high population density, but they most certianally exist.

        It is interesting to note that TJ is only greeting people on Sunday mornings. What about the other 6 days a week? I know many of my neighbors – largely due to the dog, and I have found people are far less chatty or even friendly in the morning than any other time of day (regardless of the day of the week.)

        In response to Thomas Jefferson who said:

        Maybe that works in towns and cities that have real neighborhoods with residents who know each other and share share each others’ goals and have a stake in a clean, safe, well run place to live.

        With the exception of the Italian American neighborhood that Mayor Russo called home and the projects in the southwest, the rest of Hoboken doesn’t have neighborhoods because it’s primarily a town of transients who still vote where mommy and daddy live “to make their votes count” and still drive cars with out of state plates after living in this town for years.

        Do you know the names of your neighbors? Do you do more than nod when you see them? Do they even glance at you when you nod?

        I have played a game of greeting neighbors and others I pass on the street on Sunday mornings while strolling with my dog and tallied how many returned my greetings. My rate of replies was about 3%, and most who replied were long time owners or new transients from the midwest, west coast, or south.

        That plan won’t work in this town.

  11. Red Haven says:

    Lots of good points to consider here, but I think the time is now to at least consider a public crime prevention education program, if not an all-out Neighborhood Watch.

    We shouldn’t wait until we get a spike in crime, which is very possible considering the state of the economy and our close proximity to communities hard-hit by the recession. I agree that a neighborhood watch would only work in some Hoboken neighborhoods.

  12. animal_lover says:

    Neighborhood Watch through crime alerts might raise people’s awareness. For instance, my “neighbors” do not close the front entry way. The door remains open hours at a time. The police once told me if anyone walked in the building – off the street uninvited – that the police could do nothing because the open door represents an open invitation. A safety alert might open their eyes and ears in a way that a verbal request might not – see matt1122.
    Uptown girl, I am immensely grateful for anyone taking up the cause of crime protection and civil decency.

  13. animal_lover says:

    Add to those crimes threats from residents who feel they own the sidewalks, crosswalks and parks. Nastiest thing is that people actually outright state they believe they have certain rights because they “paid” for it or they are special because of the fact that they have a certain model car, ride a bike or accompanying child, when we are really talking about public access. I can not tell you how many times I have people scream at me for crossing the street at the right of way. I have seen out of towers harassed for using a public space that a Maxwell House resident did not feel they “belonged”. I hear both parents and children claim that our parks belong to the children and that other members of the community are not welcome. Yes this is a situation endorsed by Zimmer. She of course takes no accountability. Refusing to even acknowledge accidents caused by bikes.

  14. Journey says:

    There was something about reviving the neighborhood watch. I called volunteered. I got a call back that no one else did.

    How many have you have volunteered?

  15. animal_lover says:

    Journey, first you would have to have residents that are actually conscious of their surroundings. I have seen drug deals and accidents at peak hours and people are by in large unfazed.

  16. Journey says:

    That is not how neighborhood watch works. The watch members/volunteers have assigned dates and times that they ‘watch’.

    I used to patrol with my parents when I was a teen.

  17. animal_lover says:

    Ok so you would suggest a person who is generally non-attuned to their environment, to be a volunteer at a particular hour.

    • joey maxim says:

      just saying..some forget the Zimmerman incident..No such thing in sunny Hoboken..the new thing with the cretens is to pass by and wack a girl or guy to knock them out .these kids are young strong and wacked out..to interact with pd may help..this new faze is going on all over the ghetto areas..This is the world we live in..Pray for better days.. :roll: [quote comment=”222966″]Ok so you would suggest a person who is generally non-attuned to their environment, to be a volunteer at a particular hour.[/quote]

    • Journey says:

      I suggest people gain some situational awareness. And I think anyone willing to volunteer wants to be aware, otherwise they would gone living in oblivion.[quote comment=”222966″]Ok so you would suggest a person who is generally non-attuned to their environment, to be a volunteer at a particular hour.[/quote]

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