RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
A program that was started in the 1970s to curtail crime using the eyes and ears of residents in neighborhoods throughout the U.S. is under way at Randolph.
Pinnacle Hunt Communities LLC, the company that has redeveloped the base's historic housing stock, has begun a Neighborhood Watch Program in keeping with its partnership plan with the Air Force.
"There a perception of safety on the base, but you can never be too cautious," said Candy Lotridge, community director of The Landings at Randolph, the base's privatized housing. "Just because we're on a military installation doesn't mean we're immune to criminal activity. There's a low incidence of crime here, but neighbors should be on the lookout for each other."
Maj. Frank Hellstern, 12th Security Forces Squadron commander, said a neighborhood watch program can benefit Randolph's law enforcement team.
"Although we have stringent security at our base entry gates and active police patrols, we need the community's support to help us," he said. "Neighborhood watch is a good way for folks to meet each other and look out for one another, especially while families are out of the area for extended periods."
Major Hellstern said the 12th SFS provides nightly checks on the quarters of families who are out of town for an extended period. Families can call 652-5700 to complete a vacation quarters watch form.
Ms. Lotridge said the initial aim of the fledgling program is to let residents of the base's 317 housing units know that the organization exists.
"We've ordered neighborhood watch supplies, like window stickers and signs, for our residents, but we're looking for involvement," she said. "We want to let residents know we have this organization."
The Neighborhood Watch Program has met twice - including a session this week - and will likely get together on a quarterly basis, Ms. Lotridge said. Meetings will be conducted at the The Landings' new community center on New B Street, which is on the northeast side of the base.
Neighborhood watch meetings will focus on residents' concerns, but the 12th SFS will play an important role as well, she said.
"Security forces will talk about issues on base, such as speeding in the circle," Ms. Lotridge said. "They will cover a variety of topics."
Major Hellstern said the 12th SFS pledges its support of the program.
"PHC is committed to ensuring Randolph families have the safest environment in which to live," he said. "We want to partner with them to make this program stronger. Our Randolph community can add to this program by becoming actively involved by simply watching out for one another and reporting anything suspicious."
Ms. Lotridge said residents can help the program succeed by following safety guidelines at their homes - such as locking doors and windows - and by being aware of their surroundings.
"Crime doesn't happen often here, but it can," she said. "When people notice something suspicious, they should call security forces."
Major Hellstern said families should also get to know each other.
"Families should introduce themselves to their neighbors and let each other know when they expect to be out of the area," he said. "They should also secure all property around their quarters and in the parking areas."
Major Hellstern said he hopes the program will create "a tighter community committed to ensuring a crime-free neighborhood and a well-rounded partnership with PHC and security forces."
Ms. Lotridge said her hope is that neighbors will work together and "form a community awareness."
For more information on the program, residents should call the community center at 659-9061 or their tenant representative.