Two ‘Neighborhood Watch’ examples

Last week, Jeanne Allen asked for some feedback regarding airpark use of “Neighborhood Watch.”

From Randall Burdette, Director, Virginia Department of Aviation…

“We use neighborhood watch at Dogwood Air Park (VA42) in Fredericksburg VA. It is a good program for us. I think every neighborhood can make it what they need. For us, it is a neighborhood watch sign at the entrance of our neighborhood (along with a no trespassing sign), occasionally an update from the County Sherriff’s Department, a better informed community on who to call when you see something suspicious and a better relationship with our local law enforcement team.

Ours is a small neighborhood with only 36 lots. Many of our neighbors walk, bicycle, take the dogs for a walk, and ride the golf carts around the neighborhood so we have a pretty good presence from about 6 am to maybe 10 pm. From 10 pm to about 6 am the Sherriff’s department occasionally does a courtesy drive through. The only problem we seem to have is about 2-4 times a year some of the local High School students will try to drag race on the runway. Since our neighborhood is a one way in and only one way out, we have been able to block the exit on several occasions and the Sherriff’s department has been very quick to respond and take over and write tickets.

Bottom line, Neighborhood Watch seems to be a good program and I highly recommend it. I would also suggest fly in communities consider implementing AOPA’s Airport Watch program.”

From Dave Yoder, Wellington Aero Club, West Palm Beach, Florida…

“We tried Neighborhood Watch (a 251 lot airpark community) but could not get enough of the community interested. We proposed street captains who would coordinate with neighbors, the Home Owners Association (HOA) Board of Directors (BOD) or local Sheriff as appropriate. As an alternative, the Sheriff had a program whereby the HOA signed an agreement with the Sheriff allowing the Deputies to make arrests without contacting the BOD first. Official Signs (as many as needed) were provided by the Sheriff alerting anyone that had ill intent that they were being watched by the Sheriff and would be arrested. It seems to have had some impact. However, those of us who are concerned have an informal contact list that works even better. We also have signs that tell anyone that it is a Federal Offense to mess with aviation, Private or otherwise.”