Citizens on Patrol, or C.O.P., are groups of citizens organized to patrol their neighborhoods. They are an additional set of “eyes and ears” for the local police. C.O.P. programs are an effective tool for crime prevention. Patrols send a message to both residents and potential criminals that the community is strong and cohesive unit.
Communities have different needs and the structure of the C.O.P. program will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. Most C.O.P. groups patrol 2 to 4 days a week and vary their schedule so criminals are unable to identify if there is a routine. However, some C.O.P. groups patrol as often as 7 days a week if they have a strong enough volunteer base. Patrols can be done on foot or by vehicle.
C.O.P. participants are observers ONLY. They report criminal and suspicious activity to the police and should not attempt to get involved. Police support is also provided in different ways based on community needs.
If you or your community organization is interested in starting a C.O.P. program please contact the Operation Crime Watch Liaisons at (443) 984-2371 or (443) 984-9521. In addition, you may contact the community relations police officer in your police district.