JUNE 1, 2018
by Neal Witkin
Name and Purpose of the Committee
The Barefoot Neighborhood Watch Program was established in 2009 following the Highway 31 Wildfire that caused 2500 residents to be evacuated in the middle of the night. More than 100 homes were damaged in Barefoot alone, of which 69 homes were completely destroyed.
Barefoot Neighborhood Watch is a program which –
- Creates a body of concerned, involved neighbors.
- Encourages neighbors to get to know each other and their routines and to recognize any out of place activities.
- Emphasizes the importance of being aware of suspicious activities and sounds, evaluating them and knowing how to properly communicate this information to the authorities and within Barefoot if appropriate.
- Teaches techniques to reduce the risk of being victimized.
- Advises how to make homes more secure, to accurately identify property, and how to look out for each other.
- Fosters a partnership with the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety.
- Achieves results by working at the neighborhood level.
- Uses block captains and telephone chain contact lists to disseminate information.
- Promotes “Neighbors helping Neighbors” through the exchange of information related to neighborhood and individual household safety issues.
- Educates residents about security and safety.
- Encourages residents to stay informed by using reliable resources such as NIXLE.
Summary of 2017-2018 Accomplishments
- Work has continued in the development of phone trees, Community Coordinator and block captain assignments.
- Tom Zales and Lynn Berlin volunteered for the Community Coordinator positions in Somerset and Leatherleaf respectively.
- Robert Steinmetz volunteered to the NWC position of Single Family Coordinator to replace Neal Witkin who was appointed Chairperson.
- The committee is working to fill block captain assignments and the Multi-Family Coordinator positions that remain vacant.
- There have been two workshop meetings with the Single Family Community Coordinators over the past year to develop open communications in each Single Family Community.
- In cooperation with the Department of Public Safety and LCPL William McLeod, several 4 hour seminars have been scheduled exclusively for Barefoot residents titled, “Refuse To Be A Victim”, in an effort of keeping everyone safe and providing an educational opportunity in crime prevention.
- Officer McLeod has offered and conducted numerous Barefoot residential home security surveys at no cost to Barefoot residents. This survey is provided to improve home security against potential criminal activities.
- A Neighborhood Watch training meeting is planned for June 14th for all Single Family Coordinators and block Captains, and another training meeting for Multi-Family block captains will be scheduled in the fall of 2018.
- The Neighborhood Watch Committee is planning a Barefoot Community wide meeting for ALL residents on October 11, 5-7pm. This meeting will provide information about the Barefoot Neighborhood Watch Program and its mission and purpose.
- Over the past year, the Barefoot crime rate has been extremely low with few problems of criminal activities. There are more reports of residents taking advantage of improvements to home security by leaving lights on at night, locking vehicles, installing electronic devices and reporting suspicious persons and activities before they become major threats. Neighbors are watching out for each other in Barefoot and the committee has worked to improve this network of awareness over the past year.
- The Neighborhood Watch and Traffic Committees have started meeting and working together to improve crime prevention and detection. A joint project has been undertaken to replace the Barefoot Security Cameras at each Barefoot entrance and exit. These cameras were installed some 9 years ago and have outdated technology. The committee is working to replace these cameras with new and improved units capable of monitoring activities at all hours of the day and night. This will allow police a more viable and visual picture of potential criminal activity for evidence and potential arrests if required.
- Soon, notices will be issued to all Single Family residents advising their block captains and phone numbers. These notices will also advise residents to call police before calling their block captains.
- A letter has been developed and presented to Ponderosa for inclusion into the welcome packages for NEW home owners in Barefoot, advising of a Neighborhood Watch Program.