Rehoboth Beach Neighborhood Watch Program Ends

February 9th, 2018

A partnership, which has existed since the early 2000’s is ending. The Rehoboth Beach Neighborhood Watch program—named Rehoboth Watch—has been a successful partnership between the Rehoboth Beach Police Department, the City and its ctizens for more than 15 years. However, due to a variety of factors Rehoboth Watch is shutting its doors.

Traditional neighborhood watch programs typically involve block captains and networks of neighborhood residents using phone-trees to monitor and report suspicious activity in their neighborhoods. Similar efforts were attempted in Rehoboth Beach at the inception of the program; however, those programs proved unsuccessful because of the lack in numbers of full time residents.  Also in its early years Rehoboth Watch conducted seminars such as our own Rehoboth Beach CSI workshop but low attendance shuttered those programs. From the beginning Rehoboth Watch managed its own messaging system that included press releases and local crime statistics generated by the Rehoboth Beach Police Department as well as more personal messaging authored by the Rehoboth Watch administrators, Stan Mills and Hoyte Decker.

Over the years police messaging practices have evolved and the police department now has the capability to provide information and reports directly to citizens; it does not make sense to continue a program which became redundant. For these reasons “Watchers” as its participants are called have received one last bulletin from Rehoboth Watch apprising them of the decision to end the program.

“It has been a great run for over 15 years but our energy wanes” says Rehoboth Watch co-coordinator Stan Mills. And according to co-coordinator, Hoyte Decker, in a recent survey of its “Watchers” indicated that roughly 75% of those polled did not respond placing in question the value of our time commited to the program. It is interesting, though, that those who did take the survey were overwhelmingly in their support of continuing the program but were not interested in taking a more active role in maintaining it.

Nevertheless, there still is a way to be in-the-know on local police matters. The Rehoboth Beach Police Department as well as Mills and Decker encourage all citizens—not just the past Rehoboth Watch participants—to regularly visit the RBPD website for additional information and to sign up on Facebook for periodic reports generated by the Rehoboth Beach Police Department.  Of course, local news outlets continue to be a source of police department press releases.