The Wichita Falls Police Department is looking to make neighborhoods safer by putting residents on alert. East Side residents took the first step on Saturday toward becoming Crime Free Lifestyle certified.
It was business as usual for the majority of the East Side Community monthly meeting. Then residents got a special presentation from the WFPD.
Officer Brian Bohn, a 19 year police veteran, spoke to residents about his three phase Crime Free Lifestyle program. Bohn started the program two years ago to educate home and property owners about safety.
He said, "I go out here and teach an eight hour training program to homeowners and home residents on how to better secure their homes, their property, their belongings. Hopefully what they take away from that program will help them from becoming a victim of a crime here in Wichita Falls."
The eight hour program can be broken up into separate classes and is free. Bohn described himself as a traveling road show, willing to go anywhere in town to spread the word.
"It gives you pride in your house and that's what a lot of people take away. They want to take it to the next step. They want to let people know, hey I'm living a crime free lifestyle here in Wichita Falls and I want people to know it. Its taking pride in their homes, that's the big deal."
After completing the training, residents make necessary upgrades to make their property safe. Then they sign a crime free pledge.
East Side Community Meeting Facilitator Tim Hart said, "We're going to start signing people up for that at our next meeting so that we can get them involved. He has a wealth of information that we all could use to provide a safe community to make our homes safe and also to give ourselves a crime free lifestyle."
Bohn said certifying an entire neighborhood can deter criminals from committing crimes in the area. "It's just like having an alarm sign on your house or your window or out in your yard. These guys that are out here doing these crimes come up and see that and it lets them know that hey not only this house but others are probably watching out for this house."
Hart said he hopes the program will help make his community safer. "We want our children safe, we want them to be able to go to the parks and play without worrying about any type of gang activity or other type of criminal elements."
Officer Bohn says some apartment complexes in Wichita Falls are also Crime Free Lifestyle certified. If you'd like to know which ones have the stamp of approval, you can call Officer Bohn at (940) 720-2181.
All classes are held at the Public Safety Training Center. Their hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information on how to sign up click on their website.