On Saturday, residents of the Half Moon Bay's Arleta Park neighborhood met for the second time to organize a neighborhood watch initiated in the wake of a that took place in the area last month.
More than 40 people attended to organize themselves by street block and receive guidance from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office about how to establish and maintain an effective watch program.
Organizers are currently considering several ways to communicate with their fellow neighbors, including email lists, telephone calls and use of a new software application called NextDoor.com. While some residents might have concerns about publishing their contact information for a neighborhood watch list, using a computer-based application could address some of these concerns.
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office will play a support role in Half Moon Bay's Neighborhood Watch programs, Sheriff's Deputy Mark Reed and Sgt. Ted Berndston said at the meeting.
Residents were asked to volunteer to serve in a leadership role as a block captain.
Once block captains are established, Reed said, the Sheriff’s Department will attend meetings of 10-12 people in a volunteer’s home to discuss current issues and also provide crime prevention tips. This may include a walk-around of the host’s home to identify good practices and items that could be improved, he said. Neighbors who attend these meetings can then make any desired improvements at their own homes.
Deputy Reed also encouraged groups to hold block parties as a way for neighbors can get to know one another. He said that the community can provide positive solutions to taking charge of issues that are in their own sphere of influence. One example he provided was not to buy from individuals conducting door-to-door sales.
Neighborhood Watch programs in Half Moon Bay date back almost 30 years, Berndston said, from when he posted the first watch sign on Highway 1.
There is a need for posting more Neighborhood Watch signs throughout the Arleta Park neighborhood, he said, especially in areas where graffiti has appeared. He reminded attendees that the City of Half Moon Bay may have signs available for installation.
Berndston encouraged those in attendance to keep getting the word out about the effort to organize a Neighborhood Watch, so that residents can be successful in their efforts.
City graffiti removal event Oct. 1
Residents were reminded of an upcoming citywide graffiti cleanup on the morning of Oct. 1 organized by local student Thomas Perkins. All equipment and materials will be provided to volunteers. Though twenty volunteers have signed up to participate thus far, Perkins is still in need of 15 to 20 more people to assist.
Perkins, who is conducting the initiative as his Eagle Scout project, is creating a map of locations to include in the cleanup. Residents were encouraged to contact him with areas in the city in need of graffiti removal.
Volunteers will work to remove graffiti regardless of type, such as the markings that one resident discovered on trees southwest of Seymour St. which do not appear to be gang-related.
Deputy Reed also reminded people attending the meeting to be sure to call the Half Moon Bay substation at 650-726-8288 to report any suspicious activity — and to not assume that someone else will make the call.
Residents are also encouraged to sign up for the San Mateo County Community Alert System. This automated notification system provides alerts to the subscriber's cell phone regarding weather, traffic and other emergency and non-emergency situations. Subscribers select the types of alerts they are interested in receiving.
The Oct. 1 graffiti removal project will take place from 9 am to 12 pm. A meeting location will be announced at a later date. If you are interested in volunteering, or know of a graffiti location that needs cleanup in Half Moon Bay, email Thomas at email@example.com or visit the project's Facebook page.