In fact, Paws Watch, the name of the group, is integrated as an addendum to their current neighborhood watch program.
The premise behind Paws Watch is simple. Since many dog walkers tend to be out in the early morning or late evening, both of which are prime crime times, the group simply put two and two together. Why not utilize these people to help fight crime in their areas?
Similar to the neighborhood watch program it is a part of, Paws Watch is not a vigilante group. Instead, their purpose is to alert the proper authorities in a timely manner, and to help deter crimes in the first place.
Getting Ruff on Crime!
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice published a report that evaluated the effect of neighborhood watch programs on crime rates.1 Their analysis of 18 research papers and related studies found that overall, neighborhood watch programs were associated with a 16% reduction in crime.2
As far as we know, none of these U.S. programs utilized dog walkers as part of their eyes and ears. Since dog walking often occurs during high crime hours, think of how much further crime might be reduced if would-be criminals knew they were more likely to spotted by vigilant members of this demographic.
How You Can Get Involved
Who hasn't ever dreamed of being a superhero? While alien heritage or a bite from a radioactive spider probably isn't possible for all (or any) of us, there are ways we can help fight crime in our areas.
Most likely, you already walk your client's pets in areas where a neighborhood watch program is in force. The first step to getting involved would be to find and contact the leaders of the existing program. This person might be a block captain, block coordinator, or a block organizer.
Find out how they can best utilize you. You may even want to discuss the creation of an initiative similar to Paws Watch that will mobilize other dog walkers in the area. But make sure you have a plan—don't leave it all up to the captain or coordinator.
Take ownership of your participation. If you operate in an area that doesn't already have an existing neighborhood watch program, you can still learn the important numbers for reporting crimes. Then keep your eyes open, and notify them when things seem off. You'll be well on your to superhero status in no time!
Share Your Thoughts!
As a dog walker, have you ever had a personal experience witnessing and/or reporting a crime? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Also, we'd love to know what you think about participating in this kind of initiative. Are you all on board, or do you think it's a bad idea. Tell us why or why not.