San Bruno Community On Patrol
What is San Bruno Community on Patrol?
San Bruno Community on Patrol/Watch, or S.B.C.O.P. as they are commonly referred to, is an organized group of citizens who volunteer their time to patrol their neighborhoods. They act as additional "eyes and ears", for their local police officers and they use their own vehicles.
What is the purpose?
The S.B.C.O.P. program is a very effective Crime Prevention tool for all communities. The presence of S.B.C.O.P. acts as a deterrent to crime, and also city problems such as graffiti, garbage, parking issues,etc. In fact, the majority of city patroling can drastically reduced crime in their neighborhoods and eliminated the suspicious activity associated with crime, clean up the community and thereby enhancing the overall quality of life in the community.
As the extra eyes and ears of community policing, S.B.C.O.P. volunteers observe and report suspicious and/or illegal activities such as vandalism, youth loitering, break and enters, drug and alcohol offences happening in their respective communities and other issues to the SBPD.
Think about it, if you were a criminal, would you go to a community where people are patrolling. Most of the neighborhoods post street signs at all entrances, advertising their patrol. Having a patrol sends a strong message that residents care about their community and are united. Forming a patrol tends to draw a community closer together. Knowing who belongs in the neighborhood is crucial in deterring crime. Additional S.B.C.O.P support activities may include locating missing persons, helping stranded motorists and supporting Police Service officers at community events held throughout the year.
How does a S.B.C.O.P. operate?
Patrol groups utilize foot patrol or their personal cars and have radios or cell phones to communicate with the police. One method of patrolling utilizes 2 persons: a driver and an observer or 2 people who like to walk. If the patroller spots something, they can call 616-7100 and or 911. Also, a camera system from a company called "PIPS". The cameras read every license plate that goes in and out of town and records an image of the back plate and the vehicle. We will not actively monitor the cameras. We will use them as an investigative tool following the report of a crime. They are also programmed to alert us if a wanted or stolen vehicle enters or leaves.
How are these patrols financed?
Some cities offer grant funding to supplement groups for startup and operation costs. Other groups have funded their patrols through their associations or strictly through donations.
How often does a group patrol?
Some groups have a patrol out as often as 5-7 days each week. This is done so no one can pinpoint their routine. A patrol should be tailored to fit the needs of the community and its members. Crime trends and statistical information provided by the police departments can assist groups in creating a schedule. Criminals are opportunists and are simply waiting. Being out and visible in the community is the best deterrent to crime.
Is there a particular type of neighborhood that needs a patrol?
No. Many of the patrols are in very stable and established communities. They form patrols to keep their streets safe and problems out. The reality is that all communities need some sort of crime prevention mechanism in place not just looing out the window.
How do you start a patrol?
Recruit and sign up volunteers every chance you get. The key is to create a schedule that is flexible and convenient for your patrollers. Don't become regimented with a specific schedule. Flex and change your hours and routine. This creates a problem for criminals because they won't know when you are out.
Letting members sign up on a calendar is a simple and organized method to schedule patrollers. Once you have established a group of volunteers, and coordinate a training session. Establish a how to start packet and an S.B.C.O.P. manual.
Is Citizens on Patrol dangerous?
No. S.B.C.O.P. patrollers are observers only. They report criminal and suspicious activity, graffiti, garbage etc. to the police. They are not vigilantes. They do not carry weapons, or confront persons engaged in criminal or suspicious activity.
Participating in Crime Prevention Programs with a camera system and with your Police Department will create a safer and more secure and clean Community.