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CID Community Watch proves strength in numbers keeps neighborhood lively and safe

By Stacy Nguyen, journalist, designer, and community member

Sometimes, a simple, “Hi,” is one of the greatest safeguards against vandalism and similar crimes that hurt the Chinatown International District (CID). 

This is what volunteer-led CID Community Watch believes. 

CID Community Watch is made up of individuals from all walks of life with their own unique ties to the neighborhood. This group began in 2020, in response to opportunistic rioters and vandals who targeted the CID following local George Floyd protests. Windows were broken, businesses were looted. And due to COVID-related racism, many residents were already scared for their personal safety as well as the impact the vandalism and burglaries would have on the already strapped family-owned businesses in the CID. 

A group of neighbors witnessed what was happening and felt that they had it within their abilities to bring back some positivity and light to their community. They believed in the idea of “strength in numbers” and that seeing a group of community volunteers be so visible would be a crime deterrent. Their first night watch took place on June 2, 2020. 

Today, CID Community Watch continues their night watches each and every week, during which various members get together holding bottles of water, wearing bright clothing and comfortable shoes — some volunteers are even on bikes — and they walk/ride around the CID together. They clean up trash when they see it, they chat with one another, de-escalate fights if they can, deter taggers, serve houseless folks, and perhaps most importantly, they cheerily greet the people they encounter because they believe that being visible and present in the community is one of the most effective ways to prevent crime. 

CID Community Watch’s work has also extended beyond the purview of their name. They are super busy! Realizing there continues to be great need in the community, CID Community Watch has taken on lots of other projects and roles. They’ve put together care packages and meals for those in need, have organized clean-up days, offer self-defense classes for seniors, and they also often act as a liaison between the community, business owners, other organizations, media, and city officials. 

How to give CID Community Watch some love

Walk with them!

CID Community Watch strongly encourages folks to support them by walking with them! Night watches are often fun, pretty chill, and full of good conversation (usually about current events — and food!). Also, walking with them is a good opportunity to learn more about the community and neighborhood and the issues that they currently face. Join the CID Community Watch Facebook group to get all of the deets on upcoming night watches. 

Donate supplies!

CID Community Watch is always collecting donated supplies that they will distribute to the community during night watches. Visit their website to learn more and to donate. 

Follow them on social media

CID Community Watch is very active on Facebook. Join the group to keep in touch, take part in night watches, and to better stay connected to the CID! 

This blog is part of our Support Your Neighbors in the CID series, which spotlights amazing folks in the Chinatown International District, nominated by their neighbors for doing cool and impactful work around community safety.