Westside Village Civic Assn., Inc.

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Neighborhood Watch in Westside Village

Neighborhood Watch in Westside Village
How we started and where we are now.
by Everett Wallace

The late 1970s were marked by a rapidly rising crime rate throughout Los Angeles. In Westside Village there were no organized efforts to deal with this problem apart from a few neighbors on a few blocks arranging to watch out for each other. By 1980 the crime rate was perhaps five to six times what it is today when I set out to organize my block of 3200 Selby Ave. and blocks near me. Marie Wallace and I had been instrumental in organizing the WVCA in 1961 so we knew the neighborhood. After talking with the LAPD it was clear that there was a Police sponsored program for encouraging and helping Neighborhood Watch and that we could expect to have access to the original crime reports for our area and Palms soon after they happened.

We called a general meeting that year at Clover School attended by nearly 200 people. From that first meeting we were able to get names of volunteers for action and begin the task of building an organization block by block. The Police made available Officers who could appear at block meetings and I prepared talks to give following their guidelines. Those included the appointment of Block Captains and helpers plus distribution of signs and literature. I designed and established the layouts still in use for block lists of residents and gave a series of talks to the residents of the 40 block(s), recruiting block Captains along the way who were to obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of all residents of homes on those blocks. This gave us a good beginning of an effective alerting organization aimed at preventing crime.

WVCA supported the Watch with funds from the beginning so we could print and distribute the lists of residents on each block and issue crime reports bi-monthly taken from the police reports. For many years I compiled these at the Pacific Station, wrote, published and distributed regular crime reports bimonthly to all residents of homes in our area, while typing copying and distributing blocklists for those residents. Today the skeleton of that organization and system exists but limps.

Today we have fewer than half the blocks in the Village with block Captains. It's not enough to have people willing to deliver Newsletters. For the Watch to prevent crime we need a much greater level of commitment and participation block by block. The blocklists help people know who lives near them and how reach them, but if they are not kept up to date they cannot be relied upon. We need a much greater coordination effort by the WVCA Board of Directors to recruit Captains and see to these vital tasks so WVCA's Neighborhood Watch can live again.

WVCA Newsletter October 1999

Postscript 2001: since the last paragraph above was printed nothing has changed for the better; we need the Board and member ship to meet these needs if we are to have an effective Neighborhood Watch in the future.

Community facts

The Westside Village single-family dwellings were a tract developed by Fritz Burns in the 1940's. The homes originally sold in the $4000.00 range and some original owners still live in the community. The majority of the homes have been remodeled and enlarged. There are approximately 1100 single-family homes in the area.
The homeowners association started in 1961 and has been very active in programs like Neighborhood Watch and other civic-improvement programs over the years.

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