Editorial: Fight back against neighborhood crime

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke (1729-97)

Do you know when your neighbors are on vacation? Do you know who is watching their house in the meantime? Have you ever seen or heard something suspicious in your neighborhood? What did you do about it?

Inaction comes at a price.

Prescott police on April 17 arrested a trio on charges of automobile theft, among other alleged violations. Police believe they were part of a group that had been stealing cars, altering the vehicle identification numbers and reselling them online. Police still are seeking victims in the case.

It reminds us of the Williamson Valley burglaries of summer 2009. In that case authorities arrested two people on suspicion of committing those residential burglaries.

As the news broke, residents breathed a sigh of relief.

But let's examine what, in part, led to the arrests: alert neighbors fed information to the police and Sheriff's Office. When something was amiss, they reported it. After the alerts, the authorities notified neighborhood watch groups and mail carriers.

"It really got people focused on knowing what's going on and who's going in and out of their neighborhood," YCSO spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said at the time.

All communities should always be on the lookout for "what's not right" and do something about it. Block Watch programs fight the isolation and separation that crime creates and feeds upon, they forge bonds among area residents and businesses, help to reduce burglaries and other crime, and improve relations between the police and the communities they serve.

A string of arrests may solve the immediate problem, but what about next time? Contact your police department or the Sheriff's Office for information on Block Watch, and be prepared to call them or Silent Witness (1-800-932-3232) if you see or know something about a crime.

It's wise for you, your family and your neighborhood.