It is time for Neighborhood Guards annual meeting. Member organizations have already been contacted directly by email and in some cases by phone.
Prospective members and other interested parties are welcome to the public meeting which is held on
Wednesday October 29 at 7:00pm
Sunrise Assisted Living
11889 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619
- Wine & Cheese Reception
- Call to order
- Quorum Count
- Introduction of Board Members
- Review of Accomplishments
- Chairman’s Report
- Financial Report
- What’s coming up in 2015
- Close of Meeting
Examples of current Hardware will be shown together with the unveiling of the new Weatherproof box for a more elegant and less intrusive installation.
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.
For example here is a web-site with the poverty data for Oakland. http://www.city-data.com/poverty/poverty-Oakland-California.html
Zoom in to your neighborhood and click to see the poverty rates.
Sliding Scale legend
NG = Neighborhood Guard Financial aid contribution
Member = Contribution of the member neighborhood group.
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.
- Business Cards
- Snacks for potential members at recruiting events
- Pens and printed signup sheets, clipboards
- Training for new neighborhoods
- Training equipment
- Training Camera
- Network equipment for Training Setup
- Lunch for Members during all-day training
- Software development
- 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
- Installation Support
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.
- Ongoing support
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.
What is expected of the Crime team when no crime is happening? Are we going to review each image looking for a crime?
Reviewing each image every day is a waste of good family quality time. However it is a good idea to make sure that no spider decided to put a web in front of the camera.
Here is a sample set of procedures that your neighborhood can use as a starting point.
============= Sample Crime Procedure ================
Crime Team Procedures:
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.
================ End Sample Crime Procedure ========================
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.
The enrollment fee to join Neighborhood Guard is based on the total number of households in your neighborhood not just the participating households. E.g. if your block has 88 households but only 48 participate in your security initiative then you would still sign up to Neighborhood Guard based on the 88 households.
Enrollment fee structure:
|Up to 10
|11 to 50
|51 to 100
|101 to 150
|151 to 200
|Each additional 50 households
Enrollment fee includes the yearly fee per member organization for the rest of the calendar year in which the enrollment fee is paid. (It does not include the per camera fee) Continue reading →
The Neighborhood Guard Board has release the new Bylaws.
New Organizations wishing to join Neighborhood Guard must agree and adhere to the Bylaws.
The Bylaws can be changed by the members of Neighborhood Guard, (details in section 14 of the bylaws), we expect you to actively work with us to make the bylaws better every year.
First chance for changing the bylaws will be at the Annual Members meeting in October (Section 7 of the Bylaws)
If you have suggestions or proposal for changes to the bylaws make sure you submit them well in advance before the meeting so that they can make it into the notice for the meeting. (Section 8 and 14 of the Bylaws)
The current Board agrees that the Bylaws as they stand are “wordy” and could use additional editing to make them shorter and friendlier to read. If you are a wordsmith, legal-eagle or just likes fixing bylaws, please join our Bylaws Committee 😉
PDF Version of the bylaws. Neighborhood Guard Bylaws.v1 – Signed
- Only organized neighborhoods can join Neighborhood Guard as members.
- Individual persons are encouraged to volunteer in the organization.
Typical member organizations include:
- Home Owners Associations (HOA)
- Neighborhood Watch Groups
- Other Crime prevention Groups such as:
- Crime stoppers
- Block Parents
- Crime watch
- Montclair Organized Neighborhoods. (MONs)
Signing up and getting started.
- Request a presentation using the “Presentation Page“
- Setup your organization if needed
- Make a budget and collect the money Continue reading →
Link to Neighborhood Guard Bylaws
Your enrollment will not be completed until your enrollment fee has been paid in full.