Hurray! Our application for IRS Tax exemption has been approved – we are now a 501(c)3. – Start sending those check 😉
With the new status we need more volunteers!
Marketing/PR person – outreach, update web-site write mailers etc.
More Tech people who is willing to help other neighborhoods install their cameras with proper training from the organization
Legal assistance – where is the lawyer who want to join our board?
Neighborhood Outreach – Presenting for the neighborhoods.
If you would like to get to know us before volunteering, come by our open Board-meetings, they are usually held on the last Wednesday of the month at 7:00 pm in the Oakland Hills. email secretary at neighborhoodguard dot com for confirmation of date and location so that you don’t show up in vain.
At Neighborhood Guard we believe that a safe neighborhood is based on (and in) a safe community. No neighborhood is an island and the only way to stay safe is to make other neighborhoods safe as well. The little money we have collected from our activities has to be used for the best of our community.
Today it is our pleasure to announce the Neighborhood Guard financial aid program.
Maximum level of financial support
No Enrollment Fee
No Yearly membership fee
2/3 contribution towards Equipment purchase. e.g. for every dollar raised Neighborhood Guard will contribute an additional 2 dollars towards Camera Equipment.
General Eligibility Requirements
Complete member of local Neighborhood Watch/Crime Watch group (Exercises done, signs installed, roster created)
>90% of neighborhood residents on neighborhood roster
>50% households want to be part of Neighborhood Guard
Not available for Merchant Watch groups
Must be within reasonable distance from nearest Neighborhood Guard support
Neighborhood must cover the yearly image storage cost.
Financial aid is given on a first come first serve basis until funds are exhausted for the year.
Final decision to award financial support lies with the Board of Neighborhood Guard, who also has the power to make exceptions.
The Eligibility and sliding Scale.
Eligibility will be based on the latest US Census Poverty Rate data. Specifically the percentage of residents with income below poverty level. When measures on on smallest possible neighborhood census area.
The neighborhood poverty level information of available from a number of sources online.
The entire board of Neighborhood Guard had been nominated to the Local Hero award in Oakland.
The award ceremony was on February 8th, 2014 and it was an honor to be among so many pillars of the community.
The award was given by Oakland Councilmember Libby Schaaf who is a frontrunner in the Mayor of Oakland election.
Neighborhood Guard chair Jesper “JJ” Jurcenoks accepted the award on behalf of the entire board.
Neighborhood Guard Chair Jesper “JJ” Jurcenoks thanks all the volunteers who helped make us a Local Hero – with Oakland Mayor top Candidate Libby Schaaf on the right.
To everyones surprise Nancy Skinner’s aide also presented Neighborhood Guard with a
California Legislature “Certificate of Recognition” for “you outstanding contributions, leadership and activism in our community.” signed by both Rob Bonta, Assemblymember, 18th Californian District, and Nancy Skinner, assemblymember, 15th Californian District
FIRST: Neighborhood Guard is completely run by unpaid volunteers.
The Organization does NOT have any staff (paid or unpaid)
The Organization does NOT have any Paid Officers or Boardmembers
The organization does NOT provide any benefits for the board members/Officers (Healthcare, Life insurance etc – we don’t do any of that)
The Non-profit does NOT pay for food or drink during Board meetings
NO services are purchased from Boardmembers, their family, friends,employers, or companies etc.
Board members cannot directly use organization funds to pay for organization expenses. Each board member must personally front the expenses and then will only get reimbursed if and when the expense is approved by the board.(This reduces potential abuse, not that we have had any)
Neighborhood Guard does NOT make political contributions
SECOND: All the money is used for Crime Prevention.
Financial Aid to underprivileged neighborhoods for participation in Neighborhood Guard – Feeling safe should not be dependant on financial resources.
Contact us for details on the financial aid program.
Recruiting and outreach – The more neighborhoods that participate in Neighborhood Guard the safer we all are.
Snacks for potential members at recruiting events
Pens and printed signup sheets, clipboards
Training for new neighborhoods
Network equipment for Training Setup
Lunch for Members during all-day training
Development and installation tools
High Quality Network Tester
Development Raspberry Pi
Purchase of critical commercial software not available as open source (luckily we have not had to exercise this option yet)
Open Source development
Pizza and Red Bull for Hackathons.
Insurance for non-profit Board members
Envelopes and stamps for postal forward
Internet domain and Web-site hosting.
State fees for incorporation as Non-profit
Federal filing Fees for 501(c)3 status
Priority in Distribution of Funds:
Administrata – we cannot exist if we don’t pay our filing fees so this must come first.
Financial Aid (Allocated in 2014: 25% of money after administrata)
Recruiting/Training (Allocated in 2014: 25% of money after administrata, if we don’t use the money then it becomes available for Financial Aid)
Commercial software (Allocated in 2014: 25% of money after administrata, If we don’t spend the money then it becomes available for Financial Aid and Training)
Open Source software (Allocated in 2014: 25% of money after administrata, If we don’t spend the money then it becomes available for Financial Aid and Training)
THIRD: Unique Member benefits
Volunteers from Neighborhoods already online with Neighborhood Guard will come and train you and will be by your side during the entire installation process, no matter how many times you have to re-adjust the infrared and night sensitivity to get it right.
Typically once the system runs it requires very little support – but we are here for you.
Easy Access to our New – Yet to be completely announced Raspberry Pi Project for buffering and upload.
Influence over new features developed in the Neighborhood Guard software
So you want that automatic License plate Database? Become a member to make it happen.
Access to Members only online services – including:
Best Practices knowledge exchange
Data Exchange with other neighborhoods
[Planned] Online reporting of images directly to the police
[Planned] Crime statistics for Membership neighborhoods vs. non-members.
The Crime Team will divide each month into shifts of equal length. Each Crime Team member will take one shift for duty during the month. During a shift, the team member will have the following responsibilities:
Monitor each camera at least once per day to ensure it is operating and no obstructions are blocking its view.
If a camera is not operating, inform the other team members and together determine what’s wrong. Take necessary steps to make the camera operational again.
If a camera view is obstructed, remove the obstruction.
If a crime or other incident is reported by a neighbor, review the camera images to identify possible suspect vehicles, contact the neighbor for additional details as needed, and prepare and send a report to the Police as appropriate. (see separate procedure)
If a team member will be away or otherwise unable to cover their shift, that member will swap shifts with another team member or otherwise arrange for coverage during their absence.
Once per month or more frequently if necessary, the camera lenses should be cleaned of dust and grasses/branches cut back to ensure clear views.
Only eyeglass cleaner or specially formulated lens cleaner and a soft lint-free cloth should be used on the lenses.
Once per calendar quarter, the Crime Team will send an electronic reminder to all neighbors to submit any changes to the trusted vehicle registry.
A typical concern in many neighborhoods is regarding privacy.
We don’t want Police/FBI/Government to be able keep us under surveillance.
I escaped from suppressive regime to freedom loving USA, this feels like back under Stasi
We don’t want Criminals to be able to use our cameras to stalking/see when we are vulnerable.
I don’t want my creepy neighbor know when I am home alone as most victims of rape are raped by someone they know.
These concerns and every variation should be discussed before every neighborhood joins Neighborhood Guard. Some people wants to share the images with everybody and the only way to get an understanding about why that might not be the best solution is to openly discuss the concerns and find a level that everyone is comfortable with.
Here is Neighborhood Guards Guidelines to every neighborhood.
Images are NEVER shared with Police/Feds/NSA automatically and indiscriminately – E.g. Never give your login and password to a police officer and tell them to just take what they need.
Each neighborhood determines themselves what they want to share and with whom on a case by case decision.
Only a select small trusted group of individuals (NG recommend 3-5) from each neighborhood review the images when a crime happens, this group is chosen and ratified by the entire neighborhood.
A strict policy is written, shared, communicated AND followed on when and how images are disseminated.
Cameras CANNOT be used to check what time teen/spouse came home.
Images only retrieved when Crime or clearly suspicious activity happens and are never monitored except for system maintenance.
Images are only shared with the police according to the agreed upon guidelines.
All other transfer of images to government requires a court order
Sometimes there will still be that one individual in the neighborhood who is just against cameras no matter what you do. It happens in the best neighborhoods. Please don’t enforce your fees, views and regulations on that person.
Please gently tell them: “You are not required to participate, We believe so strongly in this idea that we are moving forward without you. If you are a victim of a crime the images will still be used for your benefit.”
Some people would rather just be let alone and I empathize fully with them.
The other day I got a somewhat paradoxical email from a shy neighbor asking: “How can I influence the decision on cameras without participating?”
The answer was easy:
Thank you for your interest in and concern about crime prevention.
As a resident in our neighborhood there are no requirements for participating in our neighborhood crime prevention organization, there is no fee and no home ownership requirement. Most people participate by showing up to our meetings. Some participate through email and others again let their voice be heard through more active members whom they trust.
A neighborhood that is participating in Neighborhood Guard and is using our setup and software has sent me the following success story:
The group which is located in the Oakland Hills wishes to remain anonymous for now.
I have personally seen the footage that was submitted to the police and it clearly shows the 4 perpetrators as they leave their car to assault the front door of the house. Lucky the door held and the woman home alone was safe, her testimony was key in tying the individuals in the photos to the home invasion attempt.
Anthony Toribio, Captain of Police, Oakland Police Department
Writes to the reporting neighborhood:
One of the individuals has been arrested and there are warrants out for the others. The video in this case was key–best I have ever seen. Then, field officers were quickly able to identify the suspects. The suspect arrested yesterday fled from officers on two previous occasions. Yesterday, the crime response team from our area, spotted him and made the arrest without incident. I am sure the others will be caught soon.
We thank the OPD and Captain Toribio for the good work in apprehending these suspects.