August 18, 2011
In Arlington Neighborhoods, “Citizens on Patrol” Are Watching
When a neighbor left her purse on the front seat of her car to
enjoy a swim at the Randol Mill Family Aquatic Center, a citizen on
patrol stopped her from becoming a crime victim.
She handed her neighbor some vehicle burglary prevention
“A lot of what we do is trying to inform our neighbors about crime
prevention,” said Beverly Windsor, president of the Randol Mill Park
West - Citizens on Patrol.
This north Arlington group patrols Randol Mill Park and the
residential neighborhoods encompassing more than 300 homes.
Formed in 1999, this Citizens on Patrol group works closely with
members of the Neighbors of Randol Mill Park to share important
Each year, they sponsor National Night Out activities. With a
neighborhood e-mail alert system, members stay informed about trends
in criminal activity.
“We are the tie that binds the neighborhood together,” Windsor said.
In Arlington, more neighborhoods like the Randol Mill Park West
Citizens on Patrol are working together with the Arlington Police
Department to address crime before it occurs. They are described as
the additional “eyes and ears” that help to pinpoint criminal
Crime Prevention Specialist Curtice Ervin says Arlington has more
than 300 registered groups.
“Taking 9-1-1 calls for assistance is a reactive way of policing
because in most cases the crime has already happened,” Ervin said.
“Having hundreds of citizens showing a visible presence in their
communities and providing daily feedback to their assigned Police
Patrol personnel gives the Arlington Police Department an
opportunity to provide service to our citizens in a pro-active
fashion with the goal of removing the victim from the scenario
Citizens on Patrol members submit online reports about nonemergency
situations and suspicious activity occurring in their neighborhoods.
Information is passed on to patrol officers for investigation and
often shared with other Citizens on Patrol groups for additional
monitoring, Ervin said.
“These citizens are an effective way of cutting crime in
neighborhoods as well as stopping crime before it happens,” he said.
Windsor says it is impossible for police officers to be everywhere
all the time.
“Anything we can do to discourage criminal activity and show our
appreciation and support for the police department is important to
us,” she said.
Interested in starting a Citizens on Patrol? Members must be 18
years of age or older with the ability to pass a criminal background
check. Training is required. The next new member orientation is
coming Nov. 2 and Nov. 9. To learn more, visit