Neighborhood Crime Watch

Herrin Police Officer David Dorris is assigned to the Neighborhood Crime Watch.  Any questions, concerns, or comments can be addressed by Officer Dorris by calling the Herrin Police Department at 618-942-4132.


Neighborhood Watch is a program that encourages residents to become more aware of activities while they go about their normal routines each day. The primary function of a Neighborhood Watch program is to act as the eyes and ears of the Herrin Police Department. Participants are instructed to promptly report any unusual activity as accurately as possible to the proper authorities.

Typical observations, which should be reported immediately include, but are not limited to:

Unidentified vehicles or people in the area.

An individual or individuals around vacant houses.

Vehicles which appear to have been abandoned.

Someone running from a car or home.

Someone screaming. If you cannot determine what the screams are for, call the police and report it.

Someone going door-to-door in the neighborhood or looking into windows and parked cars.

A person who seems to have no purpose wandering in the neighborhood.

Any unusual or suspicious noise that you cannot explain, such as breaking glass or pounding.

Vehicles moving slowly, without lights, or with no apparent destination.

Business transactions conducted from vehicles. This could involve the sale of drugs or stolen goods.

Offers to sell merchandise at ridiculously low prices.  It is probably stolen.

Property carried by persons on foot at an unusual hour or place, especially if the person is running.

Property being removed from closed businesses or residences known to be unoccupied.

A stranger entering a neighbor’s home or apartment that appears to be unoccupied.

A child resisting the advances of an adult.

Any unusual or suspicious activity

Good advice is to trust one’s intuition. Even if the report turns out to be a false alarm, it is better to let the police make that determination. Criminals find it difficult to operate in areas where citizens take an active role in crime prevention.

Neighborhood Watch members are restricted to performing eye and ear surveillance ONLY. Reporting their observations immediately to the police. NO weapons and NO direct involvement with a crime situation are permitted. Neighborhood Watch members are NOT authorized to perform in a law enforcement capacity.

Neighborhood Watch is the formation of a community group. Neighborhood Watch is not a plan whereby citizens attempt to pursue or apprehend a criminal, or become involved with an actual event other than making a report to the police from a safe vantage point.

Neighborhood Watch is not a law enforcement program, but rather a cooperative effort among responsible citizens to improve security for themselves, their families, and their property.


The neighborhood may consist of single family and duplex homes, apartment buildings, a combination of single homes and apartments, commercial buildings, and schools. Crime may be right there scaring everyone off the streets, or just looming on the horizon. Whatever your neighborhood is like, getting together to fight crime, violence and drugs can help create communities where children can be children and people once isolated by crime and fear can enjoy being a part of a thriving neighborhood.

Crime prevention and resistance is different from the philosophy of crime control. Instead of the traditional approach, which emphasizes the reaction to crime and apprehension of the criminal, crime resistance emphasizes modifying the attitude and behavior of the citizen, as well as the modification of the environment to eliminate the opportunity for crime. This provides a unique opportunity for both police and citizens to become involved in order to actively control crime in our communities.

Neighborhood Watch is citizens joining with police to take responsibility in ensuring the safety of their homes and neighborhoods, and improving the quality of life.


The overall effectiveness of Neighborhood Watch within the community can be greatly increased by the role of the Herrin Police Department and its Support Services officers and professionals. The contribution of the police includes providing assistance and gaining momentum.


As residents, you are in the best position to recognize something unusual occurring in your neighborhood.


Be alert while you attend to your daily affairs. If an unusual activity is observed in the neighborhood, notify the Herrin Police Department immediately. Try to describe the occurrence as accurately as possible. Stay on the telephone so you can provide additional information, which could assist the responding officers. Unknown parked cars, unidentified persons or situations that cause you to “take a second glance” are some of the things that deserve some attention. Avoid personal involvement with any crime in progress. This applies to any questionable situation that might prove potentially dangerous. All observations should be made from a safe vantage point.

Mutual Assistance

Cooperate with your neighbors by paying particular attention to their homes while they are unoccupied. This is especially important during vacation periods. Help maintain the “occupied look” about your neighbor’s homes. Remove circulars and newspapers from their homes. Park cars in their driveways while they are away.  Place a garbage can ready for pickup at such homes on collection day.  Make tracks in the snow while they are away.  Remove mail or any packages that may be delivered. 

Improved Home Security

Make sure your own home is protected. Survey your home for security weaknesses. The Support Services Division of the Herrin Police Department will assist you in this procedure or you may use a recommended self-survey. Then take appropriate steps to correct any weaknesses as soon as possible. “Crime prevention is a way of life, one which offers greater peace of mind, both while you are at home and while you are away”.


Memorize the police phone number (618-942-2106 or 618-942-2107) and keep a pen and paper near the phone.

Have your street mapped out with your neighbors’ street addresses listed and the direction (N-S-E-W) from your residence indicated.

Stay alert and aware of activities in your neighborhood. Pay attention to particulars that separate your report from something that is very general (i.e. license numbers, colors, height and weight of person, age, scars, and type of clothing make your information valuable).

Know your neighbors and their cars. Neighborhood Watch works best when everyone is concerned, aware and cooperative.

What Happens When You Dial 9-1-1?

Dial 9-1-1 for emergency help.

Your 9-1-1 call goes to a computer, which identifies the telephone number from which you are calling.

If you call from a landline telephone, your call is automatically relayed to the emergency agency serving the address of that telephone number.

If you call from a cell phone, the address may register at the nearest cellular tower.

As your call is connected to the emergency agency, in a matter of seconds a computerized database provides the dispatcher with name and address information from which you are calling.

The dispatcher determines your emergency needs and verifies the address of the emergency.

Your call is prioritized.

The proper emergency service is sent to the scene.

Procedures for Reporting to Police

When reporting a crime, please remain calm and give police this information slowly over the phone:

Identify yourself by name, address and telephone number.

Identify the type of incident (burglary, assault, suspicious persons or vehicles, etc.).

Describe if a crime is “in progress” or “has occurred”. Be sure to note time of occurrence.

Describe location. Be as specific as possible! Try to have an address for the police when you report. If an address is not available, have the street name, names of intersecting streets, and a specific description of the house or area in which you have observed a problem.

Give as complete a description as possible of a vehicle that may have been used by the suspect(s) in the commission of the crime you are reporting, including cars, motorcycles, bicycles, etc.

Give as complete a description as possible of the suspect(s) involved, including any associates also observed, and information regarding any weapons that might also be involved.

Give the direction of travel (north, south, east or west).

Finally, try to remain on the telephone and assist the dispatcher as much as possible until you are no longer needed. The more information you give the police the better.

Crimes in Progress

A crime in progress can best be explained as a crime that you feel:

Strong suspicion that something is about to take place. Be able to justify your suspicions. Ask yourself: Is the event or occurrence unusual? Is there potential for harm or injury? Is in the process of taking place. Describe what is actually happening, and if a weapon is involved. Has taken place within a short period of time, whether against persons or property, where you feel there is a possibility of quick apprehension with police response, or to prevent further acts of violence.

Radio Dispatch Priority List Examples

9-1-1: 24-hour emergency telephone number anywhere in the City of Herrin:

Any emergency requiring a response from the Police, Fire or Ambulance (EMS).

9-1-1 operators are equipped with a caller display that can tell where a call originated. This can be very helpful when a caller is unsure of where they are calling from, or if the caller is having trouble communicating with the operator. (Example: caller has trouble speaking English; young child calls).

If a 9-1-1 call is placed from a cellular phone in this area, the call will be routed to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). The PSAP then determines where the call will be transferred to for assistance.

Because of the nature of a cellular call, the operator does not get a display from the call’s origin, so be sure to identify the location you are calling from for verification.

When a call is placed to 9-1-1, the operator generally answers “9-1-1, what is your emergency’ The caller then should state that they want police, fire, or ambulance. The operator then may tell them to stay on the line while they are connected to the proper agency. (Many people think that they have been disconnected or put on hold when they are in the process o/being trans/erred. It is important that the caller not hang up) as this can delay emergency response).

If a call is placed for emergency response, the call will be prioritized by degree of emergency.  A general rule to be aware of is that crimes against persons are higher priority than crimes against property.  It is also important to know if the crime is in progress, the suspect is in the area, or the potential for harm still exists.  The information that the caller relays to the operator is crucial to determine what type of priority is given to the assignment. 

The caller may be upset or frantic, and may think the operator is asking unnecessary questions, but it is important that these questions be answered as accurately as possible.

The primary point to remember when reporting a crime is that things that are happening “now” have priority over those that already happened. Reports that receive emergency dispatch are those involving injury, potential injury, vulnerable victims, crimes in progress and those with weapons involved.

Reports that get delayed response include those that have no immediate or potential danger, property damage, and those in which the suspect is known, but not on scene.