Residents near in Cerritos may have gotten an unexpected visit on Wednesday afternoon as special assignment deputies, volunteers and explorers from the went door to door conducting community surveys in preparation for the Neighborhood Watch Town Hall meeting on April 11.
The neighborhood walks are a part of the station's community oriented policing strategy (COPS) -- a philosophy that focuses on maintaining a strong and positive relationship between the personnel of Cerritos Sheriff's Station and city residents -- something Capt. Joe Gonzales has worked hard to instill in his staff's daily operations.
"We're trying to develop a better connection between the deputies and the people they serve and protect," said Lt. Jeff Deedrick. "At Cerritos Sheriff's Station we embrace the principles of community oriented policing and we work daily to partner with the community to: address the problems that are identified; formulate solutions to those problems; and execute the strategies to solve those problems."
Part of this philosophy was put into motion yesterday afternoon, when members of the Cerritos Station conducted face-to-face interviews with residents about their most pressing safety concerns. (A PDF file of the community policing survey is available for download in the image carousel.)
Some of the commonly voiced safety issues include traffic safety near schools and vehicle and residential burglaries.
"Quite often when someone has a concern they might not feel it's important enough to call us, but when a deputy is at someone's front door, that resident may be more apt to talk to them," Deedrick said.
"By reaching out to the community, it also instills a sense that each resident has a responsibility in the safety of their own community and when everyone is invested in that manner, it's pretty difficult for criminal activity to occur without being detected," he added.
One of the most pertinent messages that deputies continue to convey to residents is the importance of being proactive by reporting suspicious activity or anything out of place -- a crucial tool that is instrumental in curtailing the city's burglary problem.
The data and responses collected from these questionnaires will also be used to help outline the topics of focus during the April Town Hall meeting.
A similar push was made before the last town hall meeting in Fall 2011 when some 500 surveys were received back from residents and -- a significant increase from the first gathering earlier that year. But Deedrick hopes the recent efforts will yield an even greater turnout at next month's event.
"Capt. Gonzales and other members of the Cerritos Station will be speaking about crime trends and sharing safety tips, but attendees will also get to know the people who are trying to keep their neighborhoods safe," he said.
"We strongly encourage residents to come to the next town hall meeting, it's always nice to see new faces," the lieutenant added.
The Neighborhood Watch Town Hall Meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the . For more information on this event, call the sheriff's station at (562) 860-0044. Residents are also encouraged to download and fill out the community survey in the Patch image carousel, and turn it into the station prior to the April 11 meeting.