Jon O’Farrell and Tara Dobby are neighbours who helped organize the local Block Watch for their Langley City neighbourhood. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

Block Watch helped clean up crime in Langley neighbourhood

From a major issue, crime has declined substantially on one City street.

There’s a blank spot in crime maps of Langley City.

A local Block Watch group has successfully driven down the rate of local property crime to near-zero levels over the last three years.

But that success began because the neighbourhood had a very rough patch that forced them to take action, say local Block Watch organizers.

“We had a problem house in our neighbourhood,” said Jon O’Farrell.

The area, off 203rd Street south of the Nicomekl River, is a quiet loop of streets with about two dozen homes.

But three years ago, an elderly resident took in some new tenants. O’Farrell and his neighbour Tara Dobby believe the resident was being taken advantage of.

Soon, crime rates began to rise.

A problem house is an area that is a focus for theft, drug use and dealing, or other crime. Often numerous people come and leave at all hours, and they may commit crimes of opportunity in the area.

“There was a lot of theft in the neighbourhood,” said O’Farrell.

“Auto theft, theft from autos,” said Dobby.

Within three months, people were getting alarmed.

“We didn’t even let our kids play outside anymore,” said O’Farrell.

The duo helped form a local Block Watch group and received help and training from the Langley RCMP.

Local residents met with the Langley City mayor and council, with senior RCMP officers and with local officers.

“Just basically not giving up,” said Dobby.

“Block Watch opened our eyes to how the police department runs,” said O’Farrell. “How they direct their resources, into what areas.”

What they learned is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

If one person calls about a suspicious person, that may not get much police response, Dobby noted.

If numerous people call about a suspicious person, if every break in, theft, and incident of vandalism is reported, the area becomes a focus for the police.

Many small crimes and incidents are never reported to police. That means the police can miss out on which areas are actually seeing spikes in property crime.

“The police really have to be informed,” said O’Farrell. “If you don’t report it, you’re basically messing it all up.”

Dobby note that police can put together better information from reports. A call about a person seen running through back yards can be linked to a local break in or other crime.

“We became the most-reported area in the Langleys,” said O’Farrell.

“That’s because of our members,” said Dobby.

Pretty doon, Dobby said there was a noticable police presence in the area.

The problem house became a focus for the police – they even parked a police cruise in front of it for a while.

The police pressure and help from relatives of the problem house’s owner eventually helped end the key concern, though it took a little over a year.

The problematic individuals were evicted – O’Farrell noted one man was found in the home’s back shed with a machete – and four to five containers of garbage were removed from the building.

The home now has new tenants.

The local Block Watch has kept up its efforts through the years that followed. They still keep in touch through email and in person.

“It brings us together as a community,” said Dobby.

Locals watch out for one another and let their neighbours know when they’re going on holidays, or if a garage door has been left open and unattended.

To learn more or create a Block Watch in Langley, email

Just Posted

Extreme weather alert issued by Langley shelter

Gateway of Hope offers homeless warm place to sleep

VIDEO: Autographs with Hockey Hall of Fame member, Marcel Dionne

Marcel Dionne, as well as other NHL greats, have arrived to the Langley Events Centre for the 2018 Legends Weekend

Giants serve up major defeat to Pats at Langley Events Centre

On the ice, Vancouver G-Men wrap up home stand with a 10-4 win over Regina Friday night.

Former Vancouver Giants captain added to wall of honour

Pre-game event will help raise money for Craig Cunningham’s All Heart Foundation

Outdoor terrace opens at Langley City hall

The outdoor terrace renovation is the final component of the Timms Community Centre renewal.

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

US official: US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters that ‘the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity.’

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Most Read