Resident Watch Training Helps Volunteers Safeguard Developments
New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Resident Watch volunteers are learning more about how to help keep their developments safe. The Family Services Department and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) are holding training sessions across the city this summer, for volunteers to learn more about how to observe a crime scene and suspects; how to interact with victims; and how to diffuse potentially volatile situations.
|Instructor hands out materials to Resident Watch training class. (Photo by PETE MIKOLESKI)|
At the training held on July 9 at NYCHA’s offices on 90 Church St., residents expressed optimism that increased training and coordination would improve their communities’ safety. Veronica Parra, a resident of Chelsea Houses in Manhattan, said the training would be useful should something unfortunate occur on patrol. “It’s helpful,” she said. “It’s explaining how to observe a situation, and how to deal with it if it happens.”
NYPD officers start the training session by explaining how volunteers should observe a criminal or suspicious situation. For example, a useful description of a person’s eyes goes far beyond color to include size, shape, the style of glasses worn and whether or not their eyes were bloodshot. Residents also learned how to observe someone’s age, size, mannerisms, clothes, weapons and method of escape.
Resident Watch volunteers also get tips on how to interact with others while on patrol. NYCHA staff explained what to do – and not do – while interacting with a victim of a crime, stressing the importance of restoring a sense of dignity to a victim and patiently expressing a desire to help. In order to prevent incidents at residences, NYCHA explained how to notify Family Services of any concerns, including anonymous referral of residents who may be in need of assistance.
Chelsea Houses resident Marion Gonzalez said the training’s true value would be evaluated in NYCHA communities. She hopes to see the training bring positive results to her community.
Resident Watch training sessions are a recommendation of the NYCHA Safety and Security Task Force. The training sessions are an integral component of the future for the Resident Watch program, as outlined under Plan NYCHA, which calls for increased resident participation, cooperative training with local police and better coordination amongst Resident Watch teams.
By Ryan Dicovitsky
Learn more about the NYCHA Resident Watch program
July 10, 2012