A new community awareness program called the Dog Walking Watch, encourages Chandler pet owners to be more vigilant while out with their pooches.
If you routinely walk your dog, why not get some tips to keep the neighborhood safe while you’re at it?
Chandler police recently launched Dog Walking Watch to encourage dog owners to be more vigilant while out with their pooches.
“When people are aware of their surroundings, it discourages criminal activity,” said Officer Robin Atwood, who trains dog owners in the program.
Take these steps to be more proactive in your community with your pup:
1. Put down your cellphone
Atwood said most dog walkers are plugged into their cellphones while taking Fido for a stroll. But, she said, the first step to becoming more vigilant in the community is to remain undistracted.
“A lot of us live on our phones,” Atwood said. “We’re just asking (you) to put that down for a little bit.”
Don’t leave your cellphone at home, she added, because you might need itif you spot something suspicious. Cellphone aside, Atwood also said it’s important to be aware of your location by being knowledgeable about the streets you’re on and the route you’re taking.
2. Keep an eye on suspicious behavior
Atwood said most criminals don’t like to be seen and will often disguise their behavior. She said dog walkers can watch for behavior that seems out of place.
That could include:
- A car driving without headlights.
- A car parked in an unusual location.
- A person looking into vehicles in a parking lot or looking into a house window.
- A person taking pictures of schools or government buildings.
“It’s not the person that’s suspicious, it’s what they are doing,” she said.
3. Look out for your neighbor
In Chandler, most crimes are crime of opportunity, Atwood said. Crimes of opportunity are usually unplanned and are easily accessible to a criminal, such as breaking into a unlocked car or burglarizing an unprotected home.
“We allow (crime) to happen,” she said.
By being aware of unusual surroundings, such as an open garage door or an unlocked back gate, residents can keep one another safe. She encourages dog walkers to reach out to neighbors and inform them if anything looks out of place.
4. See something? Say something
Across the nation, a large majority of police arrests are made as a direct result of a tip from a citizen, Atwood said. Tips make officers more aware of surrounding communities, and can act as a preventive measure to stop crimes from occurring.
“When you make that call, it gets an officer into your neighborhood,” she said.
Residents who spot suspicious behavior in Chandler can call the police tip line, 480-782-4440, or text 274637 with keyword ChandlerPD. She said residents also can take pictures or video while submitting a tip to police.
Cities around the Valley offer similar tip lines and texting services.
But, Atwood noted, she doesn’t want residents to feel pressured to put themselves in immediate danger.
“What we just want is that you’re paying attention and you don’t hesitate to give us call,” she said.
5. Call 911 in case of emergency
When a crime appears to be occurring, Atwood said to call 911 immediately.
Immediacy is key, she said. Many residents will call in a tip several hours or days after witnessing something suspicious, which can make officers’ responses less effective.
“If you think it’s an emergency or someone is getting hurt, that’s a 911 call,” she said.
If you call 911, Atwood said, be prepared to answer the following questions from the dispatcher:
- Your location, including small cross streets and nearby businesses.
- Description of suspicious behavior.
- Description of suspicious person.
To sign up for Dog Walking Watch training, call Chandler police at 480-782-4962.
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