For the past three years, Fort Hood police have used community partnerships to help prevent crime on post.
As a member of the Central Texas Crime Prevention Association, the Fort Hood Police Department is able to share and learn best practices and successful outreach programs with the other 30 members of the association.
“We recently got into it ... to help us learn about crime prevention as a whole,” said Sgt. Andrew Samarripa, a civilian police officer at Fort Hood. “The biggest benefit is it allows us to network with law enforcement both regionally and across the state.”
The association consists of law enforcement officers, city officials, crime prevention specialists, concerned business representatives and citizens dedicated to reducing the opportunity for crime, according to its website. It is a regional affiliate of the state-wide Texas Crime Prevention Association, which was founded in 1976.
One area where Fort Hood was able to learn about and implement a new program, thanks to the association, was the citizens observer line, Samarripa said. Fort Hood reached out to the company El Paso used, and became one of the first military installations to adopt such a program, which doesn’t allow police to see the number of the person sending a tip.
“It’s completely anonymous,” said Capt. Jonathan Caylor, a civilian police officer and department spokesman. “We had problems getting information because people knew their name would be association with the case. It allows us to provide anonymity and still create a conversation with them through text.”
Other members of the association have been interested in how Fort Hood makes an impact in its community, Samarripa said.
“Community matters to us, and their participation is the reason we get recognition,” he said.
In just three years with the association, Fort Hood has won four awards. National Night Out has become one of the biggest community-based events, drawing hundreds of participants and national awards. In December, Fort Hood was selected as a National Award Winner from the National Association of Town Watch.
“We like for people to get to know their neighbors and to form neighborhood watch programs,” Samarripa said.
Interested neighborhoods can even have police come out and teach them how to look for and report suspicious activity.
“We want to take away the opportunity for criminals to make our residents victims,” he said.
“If a criminal knows you’ll report them, chances are they’ll go somewhere they don’t have to work so hard.”
Watch groups were stood up in each of Fort Hood’s 13 housing villages, but due to turnover of residents the level of participation varies, Caylor said.
For more information on Fort Hood’s crime prevention efforts go to Fort Hood’s Directorate of Emergency Services Facebook page.
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.