DENVER — A perceived uptick in crime in one Denver neighborhood prompted a resident to float the idea of forming a neighborhood watch group to combat harassment and porch piracy.
“We love the neighborhood, and we want to protect it and keep it safe,” resident Rick Cole said.
Cole and his family have called the Sunnyside neighborhood in Denver home for ten years. But according to Cole, the neighborhood that sits between Inca and Federal, I-70 and 38th Street, has its concerns.
“The heightened activity in crime that we’ve seen the last few months,” he said.
Cole himself has been the victim of a car break-in. Many of his neighbors have told him they have as well. And this time of year brings out the porch pirates, stealing packages from the neighborhood’s front porches.
“This year, because everyone’s ordering online,” he explained, “that activity is significantly increased.”
There have also been cases of harassment of women in the neighborhood who are out for walks or runs.
“They’re being followed, they’re being asked strange questions, and then the women feel a sense of something’s not right, and they’ll take a different path, and then the vehicle will continue to follow them,” Cole explained.
He added one report of a man exposing himself to a woman.
Denver Police’s crime map shows 170 crimes reported in Sunnyside between the start of September and the end of November. That number is higher than four of the neighboring neighborhoods.
“I had the idea of let’s start our own neighborhood watch for Sunnyside,” he said.
His NextDoor post about it online generated a lot of interest, including over a dozen neighbors that said they would take part in just one day.
“We’re not trying to become a vigilante group. We want to be an extension of an eye and ears for police in our neighborhood,” he said.
The neighborhood watch idea is still in the developmental phase but could include walking patrols with an easy way to contact police and potentially even bright colored shirts.
“Porch pirates see a bunch of bright-colored shirts, they know they’re being watched,” he said.
Cole plans to be in touch with the neighborhood’s DPD community resource officer as well.
“We want a safe community,” he said.