ABC Action News features NSSP of Jungle Terrace

Preventing crime with Perception: Neighborhood watch program in St. Petersburg spreading in city

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla – Crime is down in some St. Petersburg neighborhoods. One man is trying to keep it that way.

Dr. Ed Carlson is sharing lessons of their successful neighborhood watch in the Jungle Terrace area. He means business.

“I feel very official,” said Carlson.

Dr. Carlson rides his bike through the Jungle Terrace area keeping watch of the neighborhood he loves and lives in.

“Our knowing is that people are innately good and if you give some encouragement in the ‘be good’ department then they will be good,”
Carlson said, laughing.

Carlson started the Neighborhood Scout and Safety Program. Over the last six years, 29 other scouts have joined the effort. They have nearly eliminated crime in the park near Carlson’s home.

“Presence plus Perception equals Prevention,” said Carlson, citing the group’s motto.

They do not carry weapons and barely interact with people but they do give police helpful information when they see it. They make themselves known by wearing custom made shirts.

“We made the letters so big on the back of our shirts because that indicates ‘official-ness’ to people,” Carlson laughed.

And, they write in these custom notebooks.

“If they have an official looking book and people see them writing in it,
that contributes to the perception,” Carlson said.

They take note of busted street lamps and potholes, anything they can report to the city that could be fixed.

The program has been so successful; a neighbor in the Old Northeast area of St. Pete wants to start up a new sector of the group.

According to statistics from the St. Pete Police Department, Old Northeast had more than 1,100 burglaries in 2001. By 2015, that number has dropped to less than 700.

That neighbor hopes citizen patrolling will lower the number even more. Dr. Carlson says it works.

“There is a need for an organization like NSSP in every neighborhood,” said Carlson. “The neighborhood participates, and it only takes a few people to make a huge difference.”

The newly formed group in the Old Northeast neighborhood is meeting to discuss how they will get gear to make this happen and divvy up routes. They encourage any and all interested folks to come out. You can ride a bike or walk an area of the neighborhood, it does not matter to them how you contribute.

The meeting is set for 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 5 at Paciugo Gelato & Caffe at 300 Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg. Ask for Andrew Orr.

ABC News

NSSP Summary of Actions (22 pages)

NSSP ~ Neighborhood Scout and Safety Program

Prevention Power by Presence and Perception.

In challenging times for cities, neighborhoods take responsibility to expand the Presence of Police and City Resources through volunteer “Neighborhood Scout and Safety Patrol.”

Mission: Neighborhood Health through Active Volunteer Vigilance.
Motto: Have Fun Outdoors with Vigilant Eyes.
Slogan: Active Hearts, Hands and Heads = Health

JTCA, pursuing a Police Forfeiture Grant for an electric bicycle, named our program “Neighborhood Scout and Safety Patrol.” The idea and form continued to emerge – black polo shirt design, black business cards with phone numbers of Police Non Emergency, Action Line, and Graffiti.

Law Enforcement Officers helped us develop what to look for and how to behave. Board Members around Walter Fuller Park are YES to bike “patrol” their neighborhoods. Other riders joined them, including our retired community police officer, and a Pinellas Trail Volunteer.

Next, regular walkers began stepping forward for a shirt to wear and eyes to look. Pete Samsoe, Grounds Supervisor at the Baseball Center, volunteered 4 hours a week night patrol in their golf cart in Walter Fuller Park. At “Donuts in the Park” event, more eager volunteers became Scouts. Crime Watch last year: 1 person was interested. NSSP Team: 17 Scouts already!! (29 in 2014)

No meetings, your regular activities, FUN and beneficial. Thank you for stepping forward to help us “Practice Prevention through Presence and Perception.”
NSSP also stands for “Neighborhood SNIPE SIGN Program”. A hearty Scout says “You make ‘em, we take ‘em.” “I think of it as a sport/game. I get instant gratification cleaning up the City. Everything looks so much better without this trash. Really, really better!” City Sanitation has now joined in with two men in a truck out picking up snipe signs.

Join us! Simply remove signs and discard them in your garbage can. “Good fortune follows those who are willing to help themselves.”
For the complete NSSP Summary Document, CLICK HERE


Volunteer Action over Thanksgiving Holiday

I appreciate the orange tape, camera, NSSP cards, and the booklet to log things in.
These next few days over the Thanksgiving holiday I am going to go through my area of 27th Ave – 32 Ave and from 80th street to the east end of the park, and work out some kind of routine for myself.
Thank you for this opportunity to serve the neighborhood. I appreciate the vote of confidence.

Plain clothes neighborhood guy reporting

Plain clothes neighborhood guy reporting:
As I drove by Abercrombie Park at dusk this evening, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that there seemed to be unfamiliar activity going on in the park (not legitimate after dark). Upon arrival home I explained to my wife that I had a possible NSSP duty to perform. So, since I was already in very plain clothes (work jeans, etc.), I quickly hiked a few blocks along Park Street until I could ascertain strange silhouettes and the unusual movement of human animals slipping around in the darkness, and the barely audible rush of water accompanied by a clunking sound.
As I cautiously approached, a stranger in a hard hat stepped in my direction so I felt compelled to announce myself and the interest that our neighborhood association has in events that happen in all areas of our neighborhood.
What happened next might be of interest to Jungle Terrace residents. The strange barely visible objects represented a complete compliment of well drilling equipment and the humans were hard hat adorned guys making stuff happen in our beloved park.
My next question: “Are you installing a well for use in the park?” Answer: Nope, we are installing an underground apparatus that relates to the gas pipeline”. Folks, my knowledge of such subterranean gadgets is totally lacking, but he was a real nice foreman. We had a congenial talk and I trotted home feeling fairly confident that all is well in Abercrombie Park.
Thought I’d report in case anyone else is curious about unusual neighborhood going’s on. Better hurry though, if you want to find out for yourself, because the foreman said they would probably finish their project tomorrow (Wednesday, November 30, 2011).
Plain Clothes Roland

Neighborhood Leaders Discuss POLICE and CODES

Neighborhood Leaders Discuss POLICE and CODES

Notable in the riots in England with the killing and stealing is that Vigilant Groups in towns and cities around the country emerged as PREVENTION and DETERRENT.
October 17, 2011, Mayor’s Summit with Neighborhoods, the two main areas of Neighborhoods: CODES and POLICE.

Here are snippets from the Summit and from emails circulating among Presidents:

From the Mayor’s Summit: “Neighborhoods can help by getting residents to walk the beat around their own neighborhoods, aggressively report crimes.”

From the Emails:
POLICE: “Our Mosque was broken into and I experienced firsthand an extremely apathetic approach to burglary investigations. However, the men of the Mosque hit the streets and did our own investigation.
We caught the perpetrator and retrieved our property within hours.”
POLICE: “We had another armed robbery tonight!  About 8:00 pm.  Someone attempted to rob the barbershop. The person came in with a mask and a gun.  The barber and his customer jumped the robber!
They took off his mask, took his gun, then the robber begged for his life and ran!
One of the victims was able to identify the robber, so hopefully they catch him.”
POLICE: “The stories about police response time and investigations we get from our neighbors that have had their homes broken into would make a brass monkey cry!”
POLICE: “A month ago six cars were parked in front of a girl’s house and a crowd of 10 people getting ready to fight.  I called 911 immediately because I knew it wasn’t going to be anything nice!  Another resident also called the police.  Ten minutes later (911 call), they still weren’t there.  By this time, the fight was in full swing.  Myself and the neighbor called back, asking where is the police?  They arrived five minutes later. By then, the fight was over and people were pulling off in cars.  No one was stopped or questioned.
“Saturday a resident saw a group of boys getting ready to fight, one boy ran into the house and came back out with a gun.  The resident called 911 and stayed until the police arrived, which was 12 minutes later!  When the boys saw the police, they ran.”
“The average response time for a burglary in our area?  An hour or more.”
POLICE: “There is no problem with the SPPD officers.  We have astonishing response times in Lakewood, and wonderful Community Service Officers.  But we have noticed there is a reluctance to help us and let us help the Police by using modern instant communication techniques.  Reluctance isn’t even the right word; trying to even talk to Police command staff about using efficient methodologies has been fruitless.
POLICE: A responsive and engaged force on the street, but a remote and disengaged command staff.  There is a lot of talk by PD about working with the public and citizen participation and involvement but the reality is otherwise.  As a result, modern instant communication techniques that would help prevent crime in our neighborhoods are not being used.
“Example: 80+ year old man wandered away from a nursing home. Despite the PD’s knowledge of a large and email-supported Crime Watch, and despite a well-paid “Neighborhood Crime Prevention Office,” no one informed us about this man. He spent 4 days wandering until he was found.  Supervisors at the Nature Park would have reported him at least 2 days earlier had they received word from Lakewood (they are in our group) to keep an eye out.”
POLICE: “When we asked SPPD spokesman Bill Proffitt why no one at the PD contacted us to assist, we were told “We don’t do that.”
“Municipalities throughout the country are using email alerts and reverse 911 systems for years,
but these tools are not being used in St. Petersburg.”
POLICE: “I asked Proffitt (SPPD Info Officer) why no one in the PD uses instant communication to let us and Nature Park know about a missing senior (we do have silver alerts). I’m told, ‘We don’t do that.’ Is this an answer?  When I call as head of a neighborhood with 1600 homes and ask to speak with the chief, if I get a call back, it is always, always from a sergeant. How does anything ever get resolved?  Sometimes it seems like no one above a sergeant is allowed to speak to the public – like we’re some kind of threat.”
POLICE and CODES: “When you give an example, they focus on minute details and come up with 16 1/2 excuses about why it actually never happened.  We can’t get anyone to see the overall problem – or rather we can’t get anyone to address the overall problem, not the PD and not Codes.  I have tried to talk to Gary Bush on several occasions about the long, long, endless time it takes to bring a complaint to a satisfactory end. Instead of looking at all the times this happens, he goes back and looks at one good instance and says, “Well, now, ya see…..” and that’s where we get stuck.”

FOUR PRESIDENTS of NEIGHBORHOODS write, then summarize thus:
“We have numerous examples of problems created by these broken processes (SPPD and CODES) – available at Summit, but it isn’t the specific cases we need to discuss.  The issue is the larger problems of SPPD communications and CODES enforcement consistency, that we want the city to address.”

NEIGHBORHOODS: “We can accomplish far more for our neighborhoods, individually and as a whole, when we act in concert, using the experience and knowledge of others as we move forward.
“To be effective requires a spirit of reciprocity among leaders.
“Each must be willing to help another even though they don’t share the same problems.


“TAZZ” Reward Posters for $250 are below and attached.

Saturday June 23 TAZZ tagged 27 locations in the park and on the Pinellas Trail.

Steve and I rode the park and Trail last Friday 9-11:30pm and Saturday 10pm to 12:30 pm and talked with clerks at 7/11.

THIS SATURDAY tomorrow 7/7

Pete and Roger are patrolling the Park from 10pm to 2am.

I will be out from 9pm to 11pm or so.

PLEASE join us — riding or walking — even once around the lake or the Park with your NSSP shirt on.

Can be at 5 or 7 or 8 or Meet at 9pm at the Volunteers Garden

Boulder in the Park

Boulder in place in WF Park.

Purchased by JTCA.

Moved by City of St. Pete.

Truck with trailer, Front end loader, Regular truck, 5 men.

Weight 2,480 pounds.

Sparkling mica in the gray green with striations.