Provo mobile watchdogs

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watch Bin Clip by . If you see cars patrolling your streets with Provo City Mobile Watch placards, you might want to double-check your legal activity.

The Provo City Mobile Watch team trained 14 new recruits at last night’s meeting.

Ordinary Provo citizens can become members after they pass a criminal background check, fingerprint analysis, training session and ride-along.

In 1998, Provo created the Provo City Mobile Watch team as an effort to create a new way to stop crime.

According to Provo special operations officer Bascom, having a neighborhood watch team decreased fifty to sixty percent of crime.

Being a volunteer watchdog isn’t easy. To be a recruit, you must pass a background check, a fingerprint analysis, training, and a mobile watch ride-along to serve in your area. If you fail to follow any rules, your time as a watch member may be terminated.

Members are not allowed to carry any weapons, or to pursue or directly confront any criminals. Each member has a direct line to dispatch and a strict procedure to follow.

Volunteers are looking for drugs, illegal activity, minors out during curfew, burglaries, robberies, and any suspicious activity in their area.

Training used to take place during a two-week period. Now it has been cut to an hour before the ride-along. Some new members feel like this is not enough.

Provo’s Officer Bascom says the main goal of training is to give members practice noticing and identifying what they see and to report back to police. The volunteers are asked not to involve themselves in crime scenes; they are only to act as trusted eye witnesses.

“We need all the help from good citizens in Provo to help be our eyes and ears to help us fight crime and improve the quality of life in Provo,” Bascom says.

“If you just imagine how many people you would need to patrol all the neighborhoods of the city, you would have to have a police department five times as big or bigger, and that’s just impossible,” Arno Dienhart, a watch member, says.

The group will hold quarterly meetings to keep new and current members up-to-date and prepared to serve in their community.  New members are encouraged to join and can find an application on the Provo Police web page.

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