South Gate

Burglaries here have declined twice as much as other major crimes since the city initiated a Neighborhood Watch program and began installing free dead-bolt locks in the homes and apartments of elderly residents, said Police Chief Norman Phillips.

The Neighborhood Watch program, begun in 1982, has attracted 4,000 citizen volunteers, Phillips told the city Rotary Club. As part of the Neighborhood Watch program, the Police Department trained senior citizen volunteers to install approximately 2,000 dead-bolt locks in homes and apartments occupied by senior citizens. The locks were donated to the Police Department by the California League of Cities and are installed free.

In the past three years, burglaries have declined from 1,306 in 1981, the year before the Neighborhood Watch program was begun, to 1,092 this year, or 16.2%, while other major crimes declined by 7.9% during the same period, Phillips said.

The city's major reported crimes--murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, grand theft auto, burglary and larceny--have dropped 7.9% from a peak of 4,239 in 1981 to 3,905 in 1984, the chief said. In the last four years, the number of arrests of adults and juveniles for all crimes has declined by 8.5%, from a peak of 7,773 in 1981 to 7,115 in 1984, the chief said.

Information about the free lock program may be obtained by calling crime prevention officers Pat Speelman or Lenore Bennett at 563-9556.

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