I ran the South East Aurora Neighborhood Watch website/services as a community service from Nov 2007 until Oct 2018. Judy Van Meter, myself, and several other residents in South East Aurora felt that we needed a more focused Neighborhood Watch organization in order to address the concerns of residents living in communities in/around the Aurora Reservoir.
We established the 'South East Aurora Neighborhood Watch' (SEANW) in late autumn of 2007 (ref unofficial meeting which occurred at the house of our original Head Area Coordinator (Judy Van Meter), back on the 17th of Oct, 2007). Our first official meeting was held Dec 5th, 2007, in the Tollgate Crossing clubhouse. As concerned residents, we saw all the new communities being established without any effort to provide active neighborhood watch services.
We organized to help protect, and inform the residents of our communities. We established ties with the Aurora Police department and other individuals interested in keeping our communities safe and secure. We set up Area Coordinators in various communities and block captains. We went door-to-door to help raise awareness of thefts and break-ins which were occurring in our growing communities.
The SEANW was established under the City's Neighborhood Watch organization - A non-profit entity established under the 'Spirit of Aurora' 501(c)(3). At first the effort was a Tollgate Crossing community endeavor, but we quickly expanded. In the spring of 2008, we invited residents from Sorrel Ranch, Wheatlands and Beacon Point. By the end of 2008 we included numerous communities including Southshore and Tallyn's Reach.
The SEANW web presence started out (in 2007) on my Tollgate Crossing web site, but we quickly realized that we needed an SEANW specific website. In March of 2010, the SouthEastAurora-NeighborhoodWatch domain was established and the website was up and running soon afterwards. In addition to a website, I also managed numerous email mailing lists for all the residents, area coordinators and block captains. Communications were centrally controlled, moderated (in communications to residents) and directed to residents inboxes.
Not only did we have public meetings designed to inform residents and community members, we also had block captain/area coordinator meetings where we discussed our Neighborhood Watch efforts, plans, ideas and the future. We planned and executed numerous fund-raisers. These safety oriented fares were designed to inform people about the South East Aurora Neighborhood Watch and our partnership with local law enforcement (Aurora Police Department, Arapahoe Sheriff's department and local Fire Departments).
In May of 2016, Judy Van Meter retired from her role as the Head Area Coordinator and Jennifer Dubrow took over. The South East Aurora Neighborhood Watch continued to grow and flourish. By the Summer of 2018 the SEANW had grown to encompass seventeen different communities in southeast aurora [Beacon Point, Blackstone, Creekside Eagle Bend, Fieldstone, Forest Trace, Heritage Eagle Bend, Inspiration, Ponderosa Ridge, Saddle Rock - North, Saddle Rock - South, Serenity Ridge, Sorrel Ranch, Southshore, Tallyn’s Reach, Tollgate Crossing, Wheatlands and Whispering Pines]
As the focus changed, I decided that I could no longer support a Neighborhood Watch program that had grown this large. Additionally the emphasis and character of the SEANW had changed somewhat over the years. It was time for me to retire from the Neighborhood Watch.
I notified the leadership, and began making plans to transfer the domain and website to a new administrator, but no one with appropriate skills or accesses could be identified (the domain could not be appropriately transferred) and leadership decide to take the organization in a new direction. Here are some excerpts from the last message sent to our mailing lists (by our Head Area Coordinator):
Going forward, there will no longer be a 'South East Aurora Neighborhood Watch' - The Neighborhood Watch will revert to an Aurora Centric Neighborhood Watch. It will do its best to incorporate the needs of all Aurora residents, no matter what community they live in.
If you're looking for information about Neighborhood Watch in your community, you'll have to head to F-Book* or Nxt-Door. If your looking for safety and security related information about your community. You could even try a general web search. You might find multiple semi-accurate answers to your questions, littered with advertisement, scattered across the web, behind firewalls and login requirements.
I enjoyed my time in the Neighborhood Watch. We were allowed to organize and control the Neighborhood Watch natively, and it grew organically - We only added a new community when the community had exhibited a willingness to participate in an organized and serious manner. We held numerous meetings that were well attended and focused on specific communities. When we held a meeting in Beacon Point, we tried to focus on issues that concerned Beacon Point. When we held a meeting in Tollgate Crossing, we tried to focus on issues affecting that community. We discussed the future of our SEANW in face to face meetings with our Area Coordinators and block captains. The mailing lists kept us all connected and provided the perfect (in my opinion) way to communicate to residents (one way to residents) and discuss issues (two way) amongst the SEANW leadership.
The Neighborhood Watch that we established back in 2007 has changed considerably over the years, but the last year or so clearly marked a turning point in the character of the organization, it's focus, and the level of participation by residents. I hope that the Neighborhood Watch leadership succeeds in their goals to serve the residents of Aurora.
I'm not really interested in selling the southeastaurora-neighborhoodwatch domain, and will likely allow it to expire at the end of my current registration. If you're interested in purchasing the domain, please send email to the 'info' email address at the domain name. Otherwise; So long and thanks for all the fish :-)
Resident/Author/Webmaster/Mailing list manager/Former member/block captain of South East Aurora Neighborhood Watch: Robert Vaessen
The new Neighborhood Watch web-portal is available via F-Book*. If you have a F-Book account, you can find it by searching for "District 3 Neighborhood Watch Information" If you have questions about Neighborhood Watch in Aurora, Colorado, please contact the Head Area Coordinator: Jennifer Dubrow <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(*F-Book (and Nxt-Door) not meant as a derogatory or disparaging remark. I use this short-hand as a reference to a website/service that is commercial in nature (not something run by community residents/volunteers), and I would prefer not to answer questions about their trademark or whether I obtained proper permission to reference their brand/service in this article. If you don't know what I mean by 'F-Book', then count yourself lucky!)