Camelback residents watch each other’s backs

AIBING GUO/Miner<br>
Back row from left, KPD Patrol Captain Scott Wright and Neighborhood Watch members Dave Dunlap, Andrea Ohlemann, Pam and Jerry Fink, James Chapman, and front row from left, Bill Patchen, Mona Chapman and Karen Dunlap gather in front of Bill Patchen’s house on Christy Drive.

AIBING GUO/Miner<br> Back row from left, KPD Patrol Captain Scott Wright and Neighborhood Watch members Dave Dunlap, Andrea Ohlemann, Pam and Jerry Fink, James Chapman, and front row from left, Bill Patchen, Mona Chapman and Karen Dunlap gather in front of Bill Patchen’s house on Christy Drive.

KINGMAN – Residents living in Camelback area in north Kingman have been enjoying better security the past two years thanks to a community-wide Neighborhood Watch program. The crime rate in the area has been on a steady downturn.

Bill Patchen, organizer of the program, attributes the achievement to efforts of 40-plus members of the program. “They have been very active in the past two years, and everyone has contributed his or her part to make this community a better place,” Patchen said.

Members of the program gathered at least once a month in a member’s house, enjoying potluck and sharing information.

Patchen has established a phone tree for all members. Whenever something happens, he will call several core members to brief them on the information and those members will then call to spread the information to other members of the tree.

The tree is organized like a pyramid, Patchen said. He usually gets information directly from the Kingman Police Department, and through members, the message will be spread to every family within a short period of time.

KPD Patrol Captain Scott Wright is the person who helped re-establish the program in the community. The Neighborhood Watch, in his words, is a program that gets citizens involved in the detection and prevention of crimes in their communities.

In addition to the daily patrol by KPD, the program will get neighbors watching for suspicious persons or activities in their neighborhood, and hence better protect the community.

When criminal acts do happen, through the program, KPD can inform local residents about the crime at the earliest time and keep them vigilant and prevent similar crimes from happening again, Wright said.

In most cases, the response from community members could offer useful information that leads to a more effective investigation of the crime, Wright said.

In Kingman, several communities have their own Neighborhood Watch programs.

The one in the Camelback area is among the best, Wright said.

“I’m really impressed by their enthusiasm and dedication to the program … they make the community a better and safer place to live, and make our job a lot easier,” Wright said.

To local resident Pam Fink, neighbors’ enthusiasm for the program is something she has never seen in her 16-year-long residence in the area.

There was a similar program in the area before, but it ended soon because of the lack of participation from the area’s residents. The crime rate went up quickly, and everyone began to worry about the security of their families and properties, Fink said.

Finally, with Wright’s help and Patchen’s leadership, the sense of security came back to the community with the re-introduction of the Neighborhood Watch program.

“This is a community with a lot of retirees. We do need someone to watch our houses when we are out for vacations,” Fink said.

When her son stopped by her house during her vacation last year, police arrived, too, after a neighbor reported the appearance of a stranger to the police.

“It’s kind of funny, but it did tell me that our house had been well watched while we were out on vacation,” Fink said.

Karen Dunlap, an ardent participant of the program, said the Neighborhood Watch has achieved something more than just security.

“We have got to know each other (in the community) better, and we have got a lot of good friends (from this neighborhood),” Dunlap said.

If effective communication has made the whole community safer, the mutual trust among residents has definitely made the community a better place for living, Dunlap said.