Overall crime down as neighborhood watch groups increase

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Neighborhood watch programs are gaining popularity on social media and that's a good thing.

Are you part of your neighborhood watch program? Well, Guam Police Department spokesman Sgt. Paul Tapao says you should be.

There’s more to being a part of a neighborhood than just moving in. Your neighborhood is your community and nowadays, with more residents staying home, there has been more engagement in making sure our homes and our neighbor’s homes are safe.

Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Tapao tells PNC that neighborhood watch programs are gaining popularity on social media, and that’s a good thing.

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“We did an actual assessment of where we are now to where we were pre-COVID and of course last year. Believe it or not, the types of crimes being reported have actually gone down compared to last year. What we are seeing more social media neighborhood watch groups actively involved in reporting more incidents that are happening within their area and being shared and circulated throughout social media,” Tapao said.

Tapao says that this increase isn’t a reflection of an increase in crimes like theft.

“The reports of thefts and everything has actually gone down compared to last year and of course the pre-pandemic,” Tapao said.

Compared to last year, overall crime is down. With an increase in the community being vigilant, Tapao says GPD is keeping an eye on social media and so are the criminals.

“When they see it posted, it actually provides a deterrence. Now, the criminal element is aware that people are actually watching and engaging and are actively involved in ensuring that their area, that community, and that neighborhood watch is involved and taking an active stance in crime prevention,” Tapao said.

GPD says they want to see more of this type of community engagement. And of course, with the holiday season being a time when opportunistic thieves usually come out, GPD is encouraging island residents to join their neighborhood watch program because with many residents working from home, there are more watchful eyes to deter crime.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.