John and Sheryl Lewis bring neighbors together

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The Neighborhood Watch Program is based on the premise that one of the best crime prevention tools is a good neighbor. When neighbors know and trust each other they can work together and in partnership with law enforcement to create an effective crime fighting team. Neighborhood Watch fights the isolation that crime can create and feed upon.

How successful a Neighborhood Watch group is depends on the Block Captain and the support they receive from their neighbors. While some Neighborhood Watch groups flourish, others dwindle or disappear all together.

The key person in any Neighborhood Watch group is the Block Captain. This person is an integral component to keeping the block actively involved in crime prevention efforts, as well as the important process of information exchange between neighbors.

When the Canyon Lake Neighborhood Watch Program formed two years ago, John and Sheryl Lewis jumped at the chance to serve as Block Captains for their neighbors on Gray Fox Dr. Since then, John and Sheryl have made every effort to see that their Neighborhood Watch group flourishes.

John and Sheryl facilitate the unity of the group, distribute information, host social gatherings and provide their neighbors with information on ways to protect themselves and each other.

The residents on Gray Fox Dr. are grateful for John and Sheryl stepping up to serve as Block Captains. Resident Marga Kidd says, I am so grateful John and Sheryl have put out the effort to watch over our neighborhood. It’s these things that give Canyon Lake that intimate community feeling.”

John and Sheryl have hosted three potluck lunches for the group. After the group eats and mix and mingles, John gives a presentation on crime and safety in Canyon Lake, which leads into a group discuss.

During their December 10 potluck lunch, the presentation and discussion centered around “crimes of opportunity,” garage, package and golf cart thefts, video cameras and “Ring” doorbells, gas station card readers and Craigslist scams, drunk drivers, emergency preparedness and who and when to call for help.

“Kasey Blankenship say, “Our Neighborhood Watch program on Gray Fox has re-enforced the message for all of us to be alert and watch out for one another.The annual pot luck lunch that the John and Sheryl sponsor enables us to get to know each other much better–something unusual for California.”

John and Sheryl knew very few of their neighbors before they signed up as Block Captains for their street. Through their participation in the Neighborhood Watch Program, they now know most of the residents on Gray Fox Dr, and through their efforts as Block Captains, most of the neighbors now know each other too. John says, “The program has provided the opportunity for all our neighbors to get to know each other and help each other out when needed.” .

There are currently 17 Block Captains in Canyon Lake. The goal is to have a Block Captain for every street in Canyon Lake.

The Block Captain responsibilities include:

  • Serving as the spokesperson for their neighborhood  group.
  • Serving as the liaison between the Police Department/Community Patrol and the neighborhood  group by attending a city wide Block Captain meeting twice a year with other Block Captains and a representative from the Riverside Sheriff’s Department.
  • Organizing two to three Neighborhood Watch meetings per year.
  • Maintaining a master list of all members of the neighbors in the group.
  • Participating in the Canyon Lake Block Captain Facebook page as a way to communicate and share ideas, information and material with other Block Captains.

Residents who are interested in serving as a Block Captain should email the Canyon Lake Neighborhood Watch Program Facilitator at canyonlakecommunity@yahoo.com.

 

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Donna Ritchie