The Newport News Police Department (NNPD) is teaming up with neighborhood watch groups and their furry friends for some exercise and conversations about ways to keep our community safe. The “Paws on Pavement” program was created to encourage individuals to get to know their neighbors while also learning to identify and report criminal, community and quality-of-life issues. The program was piloted in the city’s Shore Park neighborhood. A group of 21 citizens and officers came together with five canine friends for introductions followed by a half-hour walk. Participating officers pointed out potential problems they saw, such as overgrown bushes or trees that might get in the way of sight. Officers explained how to submit details on maintenance and obstruction issues to the city online or by calling 311. The officers also discussed how to report minor criminal offenses through NNPDOnline. The “Paws on Pavement” walks are intended to be short and informal. There are no set rules for the walks and residents don’t even have to walk dogs; the conversation and engagement are what matters. The NNPD plans to create similar groups with joggers, cyclists and individuals who exercise outdoors. While officers plan to engage with the neighborhood watch groups about once a month, their hope is that citizens will meet up with their neighbors more often. If you are interested in starting or joining an existing neighborhood group, please contact Donna Grubbs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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