The Pinnacle Family of Companies thanked the Woodlawn Village Neighborhood Watch program during a lunch at the Woodlawn Community Center Oct. 3.

The Neighborhood Watch program has been in effect in Woodlawn Village for more than a year and has helped reduce crime rates in their community.

"Pinnacle just wants to say 'thank you' to the Neighborhood Watch members for stepping up, going out at night and doing light checks," said Natasha Robinson, Villages at Belvoir Community Director. "Driving through the neighborhood and doing something about residents' concerns."

Robinson said it's important for Pinnacle to show its appreciation to the Neighborhood Watch members because they took it upon themselves to initiate the program.

"I have a neighborhood watch in my neighborhood as well," said Robinson. "It's about stepping up and taking care of Families. That's what they're doing here."

The lunch was a nice gesture from Pinnacle, according to Tiffany Benson, Neighborhood Watch leader.
"It's a great thank you from Pinnacle," said Benson.

The Woodlawn Neighborhood Watch program has recently revamped; going from 13 to 36 members in the last few months. Benson said she has kept the program going because she feels it's the neighborhood members' responsibility to look out for themselves.

"Who else is going to look out for the neighborhood but us?" said Benson. "It's our community, and we've taken a lot of flack in saying it's not our job to do it, but it really is. It's self-awareness."
Cecelia Herrera, Neighborhood Watch member, shares Benson's opinion the community members should do what they can to keep the neighborhood safe.

Herrera, who has volunteered for nearly three months, thinks it's great how the community has stepped up since the loss of the gate guards.

"I think it shows great support," said Herrera. "Gate guards aren't going to deter someone from coming through the fence at 2 or 3 in the morning. Increasing the patrols, police-wise, and getting more residents involved in the neighborhood watch will be good overall."

Along with the hourly patrolling of the neighborhoods by the program members, Benson posts updates on the Woodlawn Village Facebook page offering suggestions for how Woodlawn residents can protect their homes.

"I have a few posts reminding people to close their garage (doors) at night," said Benson. "We see them open all the time when we are patrolling and it's an invitation for someone to steal from you or break into your house."

Lt. Ron Horne, Fort Belvoir Police Department mid-shift watch commander, offered suggestions to program members on how to improve the program during the lunch. One suggestion is to regularly change the times they patrol the various streets.

"Not all criminals are stupid," said Horne. "When you change it up, it makes it impossible for that person to know, 'I can go there at this time and for sure do what I want to do.' Random patterns give you a better opportunity for catching a crime and give your neighborhood better security."

Horne said he attended the lunch because he wanted to meet with the program members and find out any specific concerns they have so he could respond to them directly.

More community members getting involved in the program is beneficial, he added, because it puts more eyes and ears watching the community.

"In the end, I think it will make Woodlawn a tighter knit community," said Horne. "When people come together for a cause, they find more friends, it's a healthier community and I think it would benefit Fort Belvoir as a whole."

Page last updated Fri October 12th, 2012 at 00:00