The Eastpointe Neighborhood Watch program will separate the city into eight different sectors, with two Eastpointe police officers assigned to each zone to coordinate with local residents.

The Eastpointe Neighborhood Watch program will separate the city into eight different sectors, with two Eastpointe police officers assigned to each zone to coordinate with local residents.

Image provided by the Eastpointe Police Department

Eastpointe to start neighborhood watch program

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 7, 2019


EASTPOINTE — The city of Eastpointe is encouraging residents to help keep the community safe as it starts a new neighborhood watch program.

The program is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to forge stronger bonds between residents, and between residents and the police.

“Our first meeting will take place Thursday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall (23200 Gratiot Ave.),” said Eastpointe Director of Public Safety George Rouhib. “The venue may change depending on the number of participants; we already have a lot, and we want to make sure to accommodate everyone.”

A neighborhood watch primarily consists of community members who organize observations of their specific neighborhoods. These groups would coordinate with one another and with the police to report crimes and potential crimes to the authorities.

“It will put eyes and ears on every street,” said Eastpointe Mayor Suzanne Pixley. “No matter how good our police officers are, they can’t be on every street all the time. Having residents know their neighbors better and know what to expect in their neighborhoods and how to respond if something is unusual can have a real impact on crime.”

The first meeting on Thursday, May 16, will gauge community interest and go over the basic structure of the program.

“This is the launch of it. We want to get a feel of everyone interested,” Rouhib said. “We will explain what a neighborhood watch would do, what the goals are, what the benefits are and how it would be structured. We would discuss what everyone’s responsibility would be depending on what they sign up for. … People will just have to show up, learn and observe, so they can work with the block captains to find ways to deter or report crime. This could include things like having people watch your house while you’re on vacation or bring your garbage cans in to prevent or deter crime.”

The meeting also will allow the police to collect feedback from the community on the subject.

“We also want to hear from residents to hear what concerns are,” Rouhib continued. We’ve broken the city up into eight sectors. In each sector, there would be two officers for each sector who will be available for each sector. We want a sense of constant communication with the department and the neighborhood watch group.”

Rouhib said that, moving forward, the program will separate interested residents into localized groups and begin to educate members on different ways of keeping a community safe.

“In June, we will start teaching residents how to keep their home and business safe,” he said. “We will show people what to look for and how to report a crime. The whole idea is to turn this over to the residents. We will still hold monthly meetings to continue to train them. We will bring people into these meetings, like camera companies to talk about different cameras, or alarm companies to talk about different types of alarms. We will discuss crime statistics and see where there are consistent sites for crime and decide how we can respond.”

The Eastpointe Police Department will have two officers assigned to each of the city’s eight zones. Each zone will have coordinators and block captains in charge of individual areas, and those individual areas will be watched over by participating residents who live there.

The Eastpointe Police Department said the key will be education and cooperation.

“People see crime — they can hear someone screaming outside — and they don’t know what to do; they’ll post something on Facebook. We’ll teach people how to respond and report properly,” Rouhib said. “People will get emails when something happens. Everyone in the group will be notified. We want to teach people how to be nicer with their neighbors and coordinate with their neighbors. We can’t do our jobs without the assistance of the public. … The key is networking — networking with each other or networking with the police.”

Those looking for more information can email Rouhib for more information at grouhib@eastpointe

“I think if you can get people involved and knowing others in the community, you have a strong foundation for a community. This harkens back to the time of block parties where people knew who their neighbors are,” said Pixley. “I think it will definitely help the community. We’ve had one in the past, before I was living here. It does require a commitment from the residents. You need eyes and ears out there to report items and help organize it, but I think there is a need now, and it is a doable achievement. I hope a lot of our residents come out to learn more.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.