A program to empower neighbors to unite to prevent crime is growing in one area of Tulsa.
“We are aware and vigilant on what is happening because the police can only do so much,” said a Midtown Alert Neighbor Captain Gabriele Blankenship.
Since 2010, Alert Neighbor Captains in Midtown expanded from two to 55 captains.
The program is funded by the Crime Commission, which is a non-profit organization.
Since the 1980s the Crime Commission reports over a million people have received training for Alert Neighbor. It’s a volunteer program that encourages safety in the home and in your neighborhood.
On Wednesday, Alert Neighbor captains from midtown Tulsa met to discuss what information they share with their Alert Neighbors.
It could be crimes, block parties or garage sales.
“People are talking to each other and emailing,” said a Midtown Tulsa Alert Neighbor Captain, Kristin Kane.
Some Alert Neighbors have created a Facebook page for their neighborhood. In some cases, only residents in that neighborhood can access the page and in others such as the Tulsa Midtown Alert Neighbor it’s a public page to share crime trends with all Alert Neighbors.
“If it’s a car that you think you know they don’t belong here,” said a Midtown Tulsa Alert Neighbor Captain, Kristy McCollum.
Captains said using these tools sends out instant information on what’s going on in their neighborhood.
The Crime Commission’s Alert Neighbor program isn’t a homeowner’s association.
Instead, captains describe it as a group that builds relationships with the Crime Commission and police.
Sergeant Kurt Dodd attended the meeting to share how captains can report crime, suspicious activity and encourages anyone who spots suspicious activity to call police.
If the caller believes the suspicious person is committing a crime, Sgt. Dodd said to tell the operator you want an officer in your neighborhood to check.
“Having that connection is more valuable,” said McCollum.
She is one of 55 Midtown Tulsa Alert Captains who works to build a cohesive neighborhood to prevent criminals from driving through their street.
“I think it’s that sense of community that people are watching out for each other,” said McCollum.
Another Alert Neighbor captain said he started his program in his Midtown Neighborhood near 36th and Lewis in the spring and has seen a difference in crime.
“Crime has been reduced in the city of Tulsa and I think that’s why,” said a Midtown Tulsa Alert Neighbor Captain, John McMahon.
Captains said it just took one person to step up and bring the neighborhood together. Crime prevention before the holidays:
Families are already in the Christmas spirit with their homes glowing from the lights and nativity scene on the lawn.
Before criminals try and pull the plug on the holidays, Midtown Tulsa Alert Neighbors are sharing with each other how to prevent criminals from stepping foot on their street and in their home.
“Light up your house,” said McMahon.
He said two families on his street have had their Christmas decorations vandalized or stolen.
Tulsa police are not required to respond to vandalism reports, rather you are encouraged to file a report online through the TPD website
Midtown Tulsa Alert Neighbor Captains met Wednesday night at the Tulsa Tennis Club to share crime prevention during the holidays. These are tips that can be used throughout the year.
“Lots of kids are in the neighborhood they leave the garage doors open. That makes them a target,” said McCollum.
If you pack up for the holidays and leave town, neighbors said they use a door jam on all but one door and securing their fence.
“On either side of the fence I have a lock so they would have to climb a six foot fence. So I feel more secure,” said Blankenship.
And you’re not out of the woods after Christmas. They recommend you avoid leaving Santa’s empty boxes on the street.
“That’s just an alert to the bad guys look at what I got,” said McMahon.
It’s this type of crime prevention that Midtown Alert Neighbor captains are taking back to share with families whether it be through e-mail or Facebook.
“Just for people to be aware, keep your eyes open. It happens so fast and it’s a big deal,” said McCollum.
The Tulsa Police non-emergency number is 918-596-9222.