John Jacobs, standing right, talks to neighbors at the first meeting of the Lower Pine Crest Neighborhood Watch. Photo by Barry Zander

With 70 felony property crimes reported from Jan. 1 through Aug. 11 this year in Idyllwild and Pine Cove, concerned residents are rapidly convening to form Neighborhood Watch groups.


Less than six months ago, Hemet Station Commander Capt. Scot Collins, Sgt. Wallace Clear and Sgt. Jim Wilson addressed 150 Hill residents at a community meeting called to address spikes in property crime in the Idyllwild area. At that meeting, they urged the community to begin forming neighborhood groups. Since then the already-alarming increase in property crime has gotten worse.

Three neighborhoods, Fern Valley, greater Scenic Drive and Lower Pine Crest have formed Neighborhood Watch systems and registration in each group is growing.

The Fern Valley Watch will cover the largest area, extending from Fern Valley Corners to Humber Park, the full length of Fern Valley Road. Recent organizational meetings in each of these neighborhoods have drawn more than 20 residents to each session. Pine Cove Neighborhood Watch is still in the embryonic stage. A South Circle Watch group from the intersection of Village Center Drive to Highway 243 formed some 10 years ago.

Recent sheriff’s reports suggest the nature of break-ins may be changing. Their frequency is increasing and sophistication, both in methodology and selection of goods stolen seems different from earlier burglaries that seemed more haphazard and spnontaneous. Commander Collins advised that the best surveillance in a neighborhood comes from the residents who live there.

Local Watch trainer Reserve Deputy Barney Brause is available to address and train new Watch groups. Call (951) 791-3406 to have Brause attend your organizational meeting. Neighborhood Watch information packets are available at the Town Crier front desk.

Reports of suspicious activity can be made to the Sheriff’s Department Dispatch number at (951) 776-1099.


  1. I want to join now! Paul Kell 951 237 3452. We've had a group of LA gang criminals that bashed in the head of my neighbor on Tahquitz Drive. He survived the attack and was able to leave the hospital after 3 months. Unfortunately this man is a Jr. Legionaire and now he and friends project hostile gestures at Post patrons. I'm disappointed that Legion has allowed this to go on like this…