Santa Paula Times

Neighborhood Watch: Annual Oaks Block Party to encourage more groups

September 07, 2011
Santa Paula News

There’s safety in numbers and you’ll want to be among the number of those who want to celebrate or learn more about public safety at a special September 10th gathering.

According to Martha Reynolds-Brown, the 3rd Annual Neighborhood Watch Block Party for the Oaks is open to all who want to learn more about the program - as well as emergency preparedness - from public safety professionals. Reynolds-Brown said the block party, located at 811 Ojai Rd., would start at 2 p.m. with a two-hour book signing by author and Oaks’ resident Al Guilin of “The Lemon Thorn,” his first novel.

This year the block party has been expanded to include those outside the Oaks neighborhood. “We wanted to give them an incentive to get involved in their neighborhoods to see what the Oaks has been doing... Police Chief Steve MacKinnon wants to beef up Neighborhood Watch by creating more groups,” overseen by Sgt. Ishmael Cordero, the program coordinator, and Sgt. Jimmy Fogata.

Reynolds-Brown said the block party is a potluck: “We ask people to bring a chair and a dip, snack, drinks or dish to share” to enjoy the program, conversation and the fresh air. “It’s open to those interested in Neighborhood Watch and gives an example of what we do when we all get together. And we support and will continue to support anyone that’s interested in getting involved in the program.” 

Reynolds-Brown said at 4 p.m. Sgt. Jimmy Fogata would give a presentation on Neighborhood Watch, the SPPD Explorers would be on hand helping, and Santa Paula Fire Captain Steve Lazenby would also be there with other engine personnel to discuss the CERT and Emergency Preparedness programs. 

It’s not hard to help ensure public safety: residents keeping an eye on their own neighborhoods, knowing who belongs and who doesn’t, what their neighbors’ habits are and just being aware in general. Both programs stress the importance of just keeping in touch with your neighbors as well as your own gut feeling that something - or someone - might be amiss and acting on it by alerting police.

The Santa Paula Police Department has long encouraged residents to initiate contact if they feel something is wrong or suspicious. Police note people should not be embarrassed by a potential false alarm, but rather be thankful responding officers might find they were wrong - and safe. It is true that it is better to be safe than sorry, but by the same token often peoples’ “gut feeling” that something is wrong is correct.

The Oaks Neighborhood Watch also has its own Facebook page.

“Bring a chair, come sit and relax for a day of fun and good conversation” that Reynolds-Brown said can even include the sale of artwork, produce and jewelry, as well as “new ideas to share with your neighbors.”

For more information and to RSVP contact Reynolds-Brown at 805-218-4486.