Numerous cities and towns across the nation have Neighborhood Watch Programs. These are aimed at encouraging residents to report suspicious activities, unusual visitors and other out of the ordinary sights in their neighborhoods to help reduce crime and keep neighborhoods safe.
The program is designed to encourage and enable community members to help protect their community by identifying and reporting suspicious behavior that is known to be associated with terrorist activities.
In August, the iWatch Program will be emphasized to enhance this capability to Fort Irwin and the National Training Center as the Army places added emphasis on antiterrorism throughout the month, which has been designated Antiterrorism Month across the entire Army.
iWatch is designed to increase individual situational awareness as well as provide the tools necessary to report suspicious behavior to law enforcement for further investigation. The program encourages Soldiers, family members, and civilians to trust their instincts and report activities that either doesnâ€™t look right or sound right to the proper authorities.
Examples of reportable behaviors include: people drawing or measuring important buildings; strangers asking questions about security procedures; a briefcase, suitcase or backpack left behind; cars or trucks left in â€œNo Parkingâ€ zones in front of important buildings; intruders found in secure areas; a person wearing clothes that are too big and bulky and/or too hot for the weather; chemical smells or fumes that worry you; questions about sensitive information such as building blueprints, security plans or VIP travel schedules without a right or need to know; purchasing supplies or equipment that can be used to make bombs or weapons and purchasing uniforms without having the proper credentials.
Over that last several years there have been many terrorist plots foiled because of concerned citizens doing the right thing by reporting situation that didnâ€™t seem right to the authorities. Important places to watch include unit headquarters, installation access points, religious facilities, amusement parks, sports and entertainment venues, recreation centers and fitness facilities, barracks and lodging facilities, mass gatherings such as parades, fairs and carnivals, schools, libraries and day care centers, hospitals, the Commissary, Post Exchange, gas stations and banks, and public transportation.
For more information on the iWatch program, contact Darrell Kemp, Fort Irwin antiterrorism officer, at 380-6372.
Editorâ€™s note: A version of this article first appeared in the High Desert Warrior on July 29, 2010.