San Diego

Neighborhood Watch Programs Can Help with Menacing Neighbors

A clinical psychologist preached the importance of Neighborhood Watch programs after a shootout between San Diego police and a man feared by his neighbors left two officers wounded and the suspect dead.

Two SDPD officers were shot when they responded to a disturbance call at 28-year-old Joe Darwish’s apartment in the College Area Saturday night. SWAT officer Responded to the scene to find Darwish dead from a gunshot wound.

Several of Darwish’s neighbors at the Tuscany Place apartment complex told NBC 7 Darwish had a reputation for causing disturbances and they were terrified about what he might do next.

Dr. Nina Stark deals with patients suffering from trauma and post-traumatic stress. She recommends neighbors band together instead of being afraid, and says a neighborhood watch programs could help people like the residents of Tuscany Place sleep a little more sound at night.

Something communities can do together before a threatening neighbor’s violence gets out of hand is document their behavior and present it to property managers or even police.

“Note down behavior,” Dr. Stark said. “Keep it factual, keep a list of dates, and maybe once a week or once a month it's presented to the building so if anything ends up happening police have some list.”

She also said neighbors should never act out of fear, and should even try reaching out the problem individual to prevent or de-escalate future problems.

“People could go to the community outreach police department and say ‘There's somebody in our neighborhood, what can we do?’” Dr. Stark said. “There’s always something you could do."

San Diegans interested in starting their own Neighborhood Watch programs can contact the San Diego Police Department for more information.

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