What's the best way to protect your neighborhood? Be aware and report anything out of line.

What's the best way to protect your neighborhood? Be aware and report anything out of line.

It's that simple.

In two years of attending our monthly police luncheons, the simple message is clear:

Call the cops.

Dial the dispatcher.

Put a call through to police.

Be it 645-4545, the nonemergency number, or even if all you can remember is to dial 911 (if it isn't an emergency, they'll transfer you), if you see something out of whack in German Village: CALL.

For more than a decade now, the Civic Relations Committee of German Village Society has been hosting a monthly Police Luncheon on the last Thursday of the month.

Jerry Glick has taken on the planning and leadership role for that sit-down for the past several years.

Jerry and the 11th Precinct moved the "luncheon" to the evening last week so people who can't make the usual 12:30 p.m. event had a chance to talk with officers, ask questions and get to know a little better who is protecting them.

There were seven officers and 24 neighbors taking the opportunity together in Brent Warner Fest Hall.

There were some great questions, such as:

Q: What do I do when a vagrant or solicitor knocks on the door?

A: Your safest approach to these kinds of crooks is not to answer the door, but make people know you're home so they hear a voice and don't try to break in. Try, "I'm not interested."

And then?

Call 645-4545 to report it and then police have a record and you haven't just passed the problem down the block to your neighbors.

Why?

Even if police can't respond immediately (the 11th precinct runs roughly from Interstate 70 to Frebis Avenue and from Interstate 71 to Alum Creek with about six cruisers available per shift) when they get to German Village next, they'll have a description of the solicitor.

They can find a reason to approach and say, "Hey, we got a call about you. We're watching."

One of the officers present last week told the crowd: "Some people operate ONLY east of Parsons seemingly understanding that the German Village community calls suspicious folks in with lots of detail so we know who we're looking for."

"Call and call and call," said Officer Barr Kirby. "What's it cost to call? Failure to call or interact with police gets the attention of crooks. Do your part."

These officers talk about "their neighborhood" and they mean it. They are us -- and they are just as interested as we are in keeping this a neighborhood with safe streets and low crime rates.

Do your part. See something? Say something.

Call and report.

German Village Society Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.