Dog walkers take bite out of crime

Published 9:41 pm Friday, July 24, 2015

Suffolk Police Capt. James Buie talks to attendees at Thursday evening’s Dog Walker Watch training at City Hall. (Henry Luzzatto photo)

Suffolk Police Capt. James Buie talks to attendees at Thursday evening’s Dog Walker Watch training at City Hall. (Henry Luzzatto photo)

By Henry Luzzatto


The Suffolk Police Department introduced the Dog Walker Watch program in a training session at City Hall on Thursday evening.

Email newsletter signup

Dog Walker Watch is a crime prevention program sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. The program asks residents in neighborhoods to pay attention to possible suspicious behavior while they walk their dogs or go about their other daily activities. Residents are then encouraged to contact the police if they think something is not right.

After an introduction by Maj. Steve Patterson, Suffolk Police Capt. James Buie kicked off the program with a presentation that explained what residents should do to prevent crimes and identified examples of suspicious behavior.

“When you’re out and about, you may very well see something that’ll help us stop a crime,” Patterson said.

Buie went on to explain that the best way to make Suffolk a safe community is to have a good relationship between the police and the people.

“We can’t do it on our own,” Buie said. “We really need y’all’s help.”

Buie said people can participate by making sure they keep a vigilant eye out when they are out in the community, whether walking dogs or not, and to make sure to report any suspicious activity.

“What we’re asking you to do is what you’re going to do every day anyway,” Buie said. “You just need to become more aware and non-hesitant to report.”

Buie went on to list examples of suspicious behavior, such as people looking into cars or looking into homes, vehicles cruising at slow speeds, people carrying large objects through the streets, and others.

However, Buie said, people should only report suspicious behavior, and not judge someone based on appearance.

“If there’s one thing you take from tonight, it’s that people are not suspicious, behavior is,” he said.

He went on to say that people should make sure to stay safe when they are out at night, remembering to carry a flashlight, travel in groups and lock their doors when they leave.

The night ended with a special appearance by McGruff the Crime Dog, as well as gift bags filled with dog-related items and information about the program.

“This program is great. We should have been doing this 10 years ago,” Buie said after the presentation.

“We need a good relationship with the people to do our job. We can’t do it without them,” Buie said. “I know it sounds cliché, but it’s a fact.”