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THOUSAND OAKS : Plan Seeks Better Ways to Fight Crime

Hoping to spark more grass-roots crime-prevention efforts in Thousand Oaks, a citizens task force has drafted a Neighborhood Watch Action Plan to highlight the best methods for keeping communities safe.

The Citizens Q of L Action Alliance, a group spearheaded by Councilwoman Elois Zeanah, also plans to establish an umbrella organization representing each of Thousand Oaks’ several dozen Neighborhood Watch groups. The new, citywide group would spread tips on maintaining active, aggressive crime-prevention efforts.

Sgt. Bruce Hansen, a crime-prevention specialist, said he welcomed the brochure as “another way of creating greater awareness of Neighborhood Watches in the community.”

Sheriff’s deputies advised the citizens group on the action plan, which includes hints about what kinds of suspicious activity to report to police. The inch-thick pamphlet also contains copies of the city’s ordinances on public nuisances, loud parties and overcrowding, so residents will know whether annoying neighbors may be violating the law.

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But above all, the action plan emphasizes that Neighborhood Watch programs can deter criminals without demanding too much energy from citizen participants.

“We believe people will start to realize that this is a very comfortable approach that allows them to participate in crime prevention,” said Jimmy Sloan, who chairs the Q of L Action Alliance.

“This way, there’s more there than just a voice saying, ‘Get involved! Start a Neighborhood Watch!’ ” Sloan said. “That’s legitimate, but then my question would be, ‘Well, how do I do that? I’ve never done anything like it before.’ ”

The group plans to draft similar programs for merchants and schools over the next several months, Sloan said.

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