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December 2013

Staying Safe this Holiday Season; Police honor Neighborhood Watch programs

For many the holidays can be a joyous time, whether for deeper connection to religion, family or friends. At work and at home, we're surrounded by celebrations and a spirit of giving. But it's also a holiday season opportunity for burglars and thieves to commit crimes.

We all know one of the best ways to prevent crime in residential and school areas is to organize a Neighborhood Watch Program. According to county records, the City of San Mateo is known to have one of the most active Neighborhood Watch programs on the Peninsula.

"Neighborhood Watch Block Captains assist in insuring neighbors are receiving safety information and updates on crime trends through community alerts, social media, and their individual neighborhood watch meetings," said Lt. Ted Gonzales '00.

That is why on December 3rd the City of San Mateo, along with the San Mateo Police Department (SMPD), held their annual Neighborhood Watch Holiday Social. Nearly 300 members from over 320 Neighborhood Watch Blocks came to be honored for their partnership with the SMPD to help stop and solve crime in San Mateo.

Police officers

Lt. Ted Gonzales '00 and Lt. Dave Peruzzaro '03 at the Neighborhood Watch Program

"Keeping neighborhoods safe doesn’t happen without the support and watchful eye of the community," said Deputy Mayor, Maureen Freschet '98, '07. "Nationally, police officers cannot be everywhere, so the Neighborhood Watch groups play a vital role in protecting our community. I am convinced that our cities are a safer place to live because of their diligence."

The San Mateo Police Department’s Neighborhood Watch program emphasizes neighbors key role in safety by being observant in their community and being SMPD’s "eyes and ears" on the street. Lieutenant Dave Peruzzaro '03 is the area lieutenant responsible for the area West of US 101, from Central Park South to Belmont.  He says crime prevention and the safety and security of residents, students, and business owners is one of the top concerns in law enforcement.

"We strongly encourage people to get together and meet their neighbors," Lt. Peruzzaro said. "The whole idea is to really get to know them and make sure you're all on the same page to keep your communities safe."

Retired school teacher Kim Tran '93, learned some of his neighbors attended Notre Dame de Namur University (formerly known as College of Notre Dame) around the same time he attended school.

"It's a small world," he said. "You really get to know your neighbors."

For more information on creating a Neighborhood Watch Program, contact your local police department.

Tips on How to Protect Yourself During the Holiday Season:

  • While shopping, use debit or credit cards when possible, and do not flash cash.
  • Men should keep their wallet in a coat pocket or other concealed location, and women are advised to carry a purse or wallet tightly under the arm.
  • Do not resist a person trying to steal from you, but do remember as many details as you can about them and give that information to law enforcement immediately.
  • When shopping, store packages or bags in the trunk of your vehicle or conceal them in the cab. Do not, however, go to your car, place your purchases in the trunk, then walk away. Thieves are on the lookout for just this kind of opportunity.
  • Keep car and home doors and windows locked and closed.
  • Do not answer the door for a person you do not know, and do not give personal information to someone over the phone.
  • Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
  • Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
  • When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display, make sure doors and passageways are clear inside your home.
  • Keep a detailed list of valuable possessions along with their serial numbers and photos.


Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday

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The Notre Dame de Namur University Alumni Newsletter is published by the Alumni Relations Office.
Elizabeth Valente, Director of Alumni Relations, Editor.

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