MESA, AZ — The Las Palmas community in East Mesa might stretch only 3.5 square miles, but offers enough territory for a criminal to roam.
The community has 450 homes that spread across 10 streets.
The 55+ community has surveillance video, recorded last month, showing a burglar taking advantage of an opportunity overnight.
Homeowners, like George Griffin, aren't accepting that behavior.
"I love it here. This is paradise,” said Griffin.
He moved to the community almost a decade ago and says he was shocked none of his neighbors kept watch as a group.
"So, I started the neighborhood watch. I did it by myself for several years until this past year. We got the whole community involved,” added Griffin.
Now, the neighborhood watch has 39 people.
Gary Kissee is one of its captains.
"Times are changing because the criminal element is starting to move in more and more,” said Kissee.
He, along with other captains, focus on a certain number of homes, communicate with those homeowners, and report back to each other.
"You just don't know anymore. You don't. Things are happening. We hear about things that are happening. People breaking in and stealing things. We just don't want to be one of those victims,” said Glenda Squire.
How and where crime happens, from Linda Haskell's point of view, is different from when she moved in 15 years ago.
“It is everywhere. So, yes, it is concerning. But, it is also is reassuring to know there is a neighborhood watch and people are out there,” said Haskell.
Members of the Las Palmas neighborhood watch even worked with Mesa Police to help organize. Together, the group and department, share crime information, statistics, trends, and prevention tips.
"I say this is neighbors helping neighbors. This is neighbors looking out for other neighbors. You can call it a neighborhood watch. But, it is just people being people and people being aware of what's going on around them,” added Kissee.