A local Neighborhood Watch notice in the area of South Circle Drive and Bicknell Lane. Photo by Grace Reed

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Hemet Station has certified Reserve Deputy Barney Brause, Hill resident, to train neighborhood watch groups in the Idyllwild and Pine Cove area.

Neighborhood Watch trainer Reserve Deputy Barney Brause. Photo by Marshall Smith

Administrative Sgt. James Wilson confirmed that Brause’s appointment would assist the formation of citizen crime monitoring and reporting groups. With downstaffing at Hemet station, administrative deputies who had been previously tasked with conducting the Watch trainings were no longer available. That had been a stumbling block to forming groups in Idyllwild to help combat a marked increase in property crimes over the last year. The first meeting and training, with a citizens group from lower Fern Valley, takes place this week.


Neighborhood Watch is a program of mutual assistance among neighbors aimed at reducing crime in the community at the grass roots. As Hemet Station Commander Scot Collins noted, “Local residents are an effective crime deterrent. They’re the eyes and ears of a community.”

Neighborhood Watch groups get to know residents in particular neighborhoods, know when they are to be gone for extended periods, record license plate numbers and descriptions of suspicious persons and, in general, are familiar with the pulse of the neighborhood. And with many Idyllwild neighborhoods being composed of part-time residents, having Neighborhood Watch captains who are full time residents is important.

Contact either Brause or Deputy Walter Kurtz at Hemet Station, (951) 791-3406, to set up a familiarization session or training. There is special message box for Brause at the station. Neighborhood Watch packets are also available at the Town Crier front office. At least three additional neighborhoods have expressed interest in forming Neighborhood Watch groups.