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Community Watch

Community Watch TIPS

The best way to prevent crime in your neighborhood is to know your neighbors and to report suspicious activity to the Greenville Police Department.

Non-Emergency: 252.329.4315
Emergency: 911

Vacation House Check: Call the Greenville Police Department at 329.4315, and the Communications Center front desk will complete the form for a house check while you are away.

Poison Control Center: 1.800.222.1222

See the Greenville Police Department Crime Prevention Page for neighborhood safety tips, or visit the Greenville Police Blog on the latest happenings with the GPD.

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From member Pat Pertalion:


Read all the way to the end. You just might learn something that will save your home from being burglarized.

  1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.
  2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.
  3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste... And taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
  4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.
  5. If it snows while you're out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks in to the house.. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.
  6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don't let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it's set. That makes it too easy.
  7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom - and your jewelry. It's not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.
  8. It's raining, you're fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door - understandable. But understand this: I don't take a day off because of bad weather.
  9. I always knock first. If you answer, I'll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don't take me up on it.)
  10. Do you really think I won't look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.
  11. Here's a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms.
  12. You're right: I won't have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it's not bolted down, I'll take it with me.
  13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you're reluctant to leave your TV on while you're out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. (Find itat)
  1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.
  2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.
  3. I'll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he'll stop what he's doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn't hear it again, he'll just go back to what he was doing. It's human nature.
  4. I'm not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?
  5. I love looking in your windows. I'm looking for signs that you're home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I'd like. I'll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.
  6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It's easier than you think to look up your address. Parents: caution your kids about this. You see this every day.
  7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it's an invitation.
  8. If you don't answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina, Oregon, California and Kentucky; security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs http://www.crimedoctor.com/ and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for his book Burglars on the Job.

Package Theft Prevention

From Sgt. Joe Friday, Greenville PD:

During the holiday season many people send and receive gifts through delivery services such as FedEx and UPS.  Sometimes, these delivery services may leave packages at the doorstep, making them easy targets for theft.  The Greenville Police Department asks residents to follow a few simple steps to help them avoid becoming a victim of delivery package theft.

  • Request a signature confirmation on all deliveries. UPS and FedEx will not leave packages at the door for items requiring a signature upon delivery.
  • If you do plan to receive packages at your door, alert neighbors of expected deliveries and ask them to hold the package for you or place it inside your garage or other area where it is not visible to would-be thieves.
  • Keep up with the delivery of your package with its tracking number, which will give you an expected delivery date.
  • Consider having valuable items insured.
  • Consider having packages delivered to another location where someone is more likely to be present during delivery.  For example, your workplace or a friend or family member’s home.
  • Notify the Police Department immediately if you see anything suspicious.
  • Be a good witness by providing accurate information on suspicious persons and/or vehicles to include tag numbers, vehicle color and suspect description.
  • Leave special instructions if possible to have a package left at the side or back door, out of sight from the road, instead of the front door.

With the ease of the internet, purchases can be made in the convenience of your own home, on your own time, with the rewards showing up on your doorstep.  But packages left unattended on your front steps, even for a short while, may just be too attractive for thieves to pass up.

Remember, crime prevention is everyone’s responsibility.

Student Project Benefits Our Community Watch Program

During the Fall 2012 semester, Dr. Intae Yoon, assistant professor in the School of Social Work at ECU, assigned his students a "macro-level intervention" assignment. Five students, Tiara Carter, Alesha Harper, Shakara Lesane, Asher Morgan and Tyerica Newton, all seniors, chose to work in a section of the university neighborhood that has been plagued by break-ins and arsons over the past few months [NOTE: A suspect has recently been arrested and charged with the arsons and break-ins].

After surveying the residents who naturally felt that the break-ins and arsons were a community problem, the group decided to partner with the Greenville PD and TRUNA Community Watch coordinator to collect names, phone numbers and email addresses for CW announcements and alerts. The students set an initial goal of 25 names. 

At first, many of the residents were reluctant to provide personal information or suggestions to even Greenville Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit. One resident stated, "It's scary to live so close to these apartments that have suddenly caught on fire--no one knows who to blame!"

The group was able to surpass their goal and the list was forwarded to the TRUNA CW coordinator.

"This group has been instrumental in getting out the word to students about our neighborhood Community Watch efforts. By taking the time to knock on doors, this initial list of names is a beginning that will, hopefully, bloom as those thirty participants talk to their neighbors, and those neighbors sign up for alerts and talk to their neighbors and so on. This grassroots effort to raise awareness is what neighborhood safety is all about.” ( Belinda Perkinson, Coordinator of TRUNA Community Watch Program)