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Insight from WFPD: Crime can occur anytime, lookout for suspicious activity

Crime knows no time or season. They will take place in the middle of the day or the middle of the night. In West Fargo, there is one patrol officer for approximately every 1,100 citizens. This is why the police department needs the assistance of the citizens in reporting crimes or suspicious activities that occur in the city of West Fargo.

One program the West Fargo Police Department offers to the citizens of West Fargo is Neighborhood Watch. This program was first developed in 1970 by one person who was concerned about the safety of their neighborhood, and it eventually developed into a national organization. Neighborhood Watch teaches citizens how to observe and report suspicious activities and people. It also provides hints on how to help protect yourself and your property from being a victim of a crime.

One simple thing you can to do to help your neighbors and the police department is to contact the police whenever you see or hear something suspicious, or see a crime in progress. Suspicious activity is someone or something that doesn't fit the norm of your neighborhood. If there is a vehicle that doesn't belong in the area that is frequently driving around the neighborhood, they may be scouting that area to commit a crime. If there is someone running at night for no apparent reason or cutting through yards, they may be running from a crime that was just committed. These are just two examples of suspicious activity.

Remember, anything that seems odd or out of place could be an indicator of criminal activity. If a citizen does call in suspicious activity, the police department asks that they give as much information and as detailed of a description as possible about why it is suspicious, where is it taking place or the direction of travel, and a detailed description of the individual or vehicle and a license plate number if available.

A few things you can do to help protect yourself and your property are fairly simple. A major deterrent is having good solid doors with a properly installed dead bolt lock and reinforced door frame. Keep the windows locked and have plenty of lighting, both outside and in. Alarm systems are a good deterrent, but only if they are activated and working. Only give your schedule or vacation plans to people you trust. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, people are constantly updating what they are doing or where they are going.

These are just a few tips on what Neighborhood Watch teaches citizens. If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch, contact your local law enforcement agency. This is our community, so let's protect it together!