Followed by Neighborhood "Crime Watcher"

Posted in: Tampa FL

Today I was followed, harassed and discriminated against by a lady claiming to report to the Neighborhood Crime Watch for the 33611 zip area. I pulled over off South MacDill Ave and Wyoming St. to enter an address into my GPS around 3 in the afternoon. I thought that I had done the right thing by pulling off the side of the road, instead of trying to input the address while driving. However, I glanced in my rear view mirror and noticed a car had pulled up behind me. I thought that I was in their way so I continued up the street and around the corner. The car proceeded to follow me. I got out, walked up to the car window and asked this older woman why she was following me. She began to speak to me with the door closed and windows up - I had no idea what she was saying. She finally realized I couldn't understand her and cracked her door open. She had written down my license plate, make and model of my car and proceeded to tell me that I don't belong here and her uncle is a cop. I told her I wasn't doing anything wrong and I live a half of a mile up the street. So, yes, I do belong here. Is it because I'm a young adult with an unnatural colored hair that threw her off? Or is she just so ignorant that anyone that makes a salary of less than $150,00 a year not allowed in our neighborhood?

I have to say, I have never felt so uncomfortable in my life. In my own neighborhood!!! She needs to be "crime watching" actual sketchy situations, not a responsible adult who decided to make the safe choice by pulling over to use her phone. Now I feel like I'm constantly looking over my shoulder for her or the police. I am not a bad person, and I have nothing to hide but this woman has made me feel so uncomfortable that I don't even want to drive down the road I live on anymore.

 

Please, can we educate the informants to report actual suspicious activity and to not discriminate against people who actually live in this neighborhood? I am all for eliminating crime, but without harassment.

 

Now I have to wonder, will my license plate and car be entered into a database that only criminals and suscpicious activity are a part of? It's not right that I feel this down about myself for trying to make a responsible decision. 

Today I was followed, harassed and discriminated against by a lady claiming to report to the Neighborhood Crime Watch for the 33611 zip area. I pulled over off South MacDill Ave and Wyoming St. to enter an address into my GPS around 3 in the afternoon. I thought that I had done the right thing by pulling off the side of the road, instead of trying to input the address while driving. However, I glanced in my rear view mirror and noticed a car had pulled up behind me. I thought that I was in their way so I continued up the street and around the corner. The car proceeded to follow me. I got out, walked up to the car window and asked this older woman why she was following me. She began to speak to me with the door closed and windows up - I had no idea what she was saying. She finally realized I couldn't understand her and cracked her door open. She had written down my license plate, make and model of my car and proceeded to tell me that I don't belong here and her uncle is a cop. I told her I wasn't doing anything wrong and I live a half of a mile up the street. So, yes, I do belong here. Is it because I'm a young adult with an unnatural colored hair that threw her off? Or is she just so ignorant that anyone that makes a salary of less than $150,00 a year not allowed in our neighborhood?

I have to say, I have never felt so uncomfortable in my life. In my own neighborhood!!! She needs to be "crime watching" actual sketchy situations, not a responsible adult who decided to make the safe choice by pulling over to use her phone. Now I feel like I'm constantly looking over my shoulder for her or the police. I am not a bad person, and I have nothin to hide but this woman has made me feel so uncomfortable that I don't even want to drive down the road I live on anymore.

 Please, can we educate the informants to report actualsuspicious activity and to not discriminate against people who actually live in this neighborhood? I am all for eliminating crime, but without harassment.

 

Now I have to wonder, will my license plate and car be entered into a database that only criminals and suscpicious activity are a pat of? It's not right that I feel this down about myself for trying to make a responsible decision. 

 

In response to your comment above:

Rest assured that the person you described and their actions do not reflect the values and spirit of real Tampa Police Department neighborhood watch members.

First of all, there are currently two coordinators for Ballast Point Neighborhood Watch and neither I nor the other coordinator would dream of pulling up behind someone and apprehending them for being in our neighborhood.  And while we are over 40, we are far from being old ladies.

Coordinators are volunteers.  They are background checked and approved by Tampa Police Department.

 The members that they recruit pay no dues and have no duties such as patrolling or apprehending anyone.  It is strongly discouraged.

Anyone is free to be an extra set of eyes and ears for Tampa Police.  We promote the reporting of crime.  We do not promote harassing, chasing, or trying to be a cop.  Volunteer coordinators forward emails from Tampa Police that list crime events in our neighborhood which alert us to be proactive in preventing crime by making our homes look lived in, having proper locks, and the like.  We communicate with each other and Tampa Police when we see crime trends in order to raise awareness for safety for our officers and our neighbors.

I have been a coordinator for about 20 years.  In the past we have had meetings with the Ballast Point Neighborhood Association.  They also respect our officers and promote crime prevention.

I invite you to look at our website and learn about the real neighborhood watch and our true spirit in our area.  We seek to honor each other and our police officers.

The incident you described sounds like you encountered an unbalanced person.  Please don’t let one nut ruin your day or your thinking about us. 

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