The Rat Patrol is an effort by several Holly Hills residents to coordinate citizen-led watches around the neighborhood. These patrols are intended to observe suspicious behavior and report that behavior to the police or the appropriate authorities.
Here are a few words from the Rat Patrol coordinator, Greg Venneman:
The Rat Patrol
For those who were in their youth in the 60’s you remember a TV show of the same name. Four comrades battling Rommel’s troups across the Sahara Desert during WW2.
Mario Indelicato and I in a conversation decided a couple years ago that we probably need to be watching more closely over this neighborhood. Things were happening. Bad things. At the time, I was doing battle with some rats (I am a pest control professional) behind St. Stephen’s parish. One joke led to another, and we called it RAT PATROL. We had to have one meeting right away to show people we were serious. The initial response was favorable, and we had an ample number of volunteers to try it out.
We lost some steam along the way (my bad) but it never went away.
Even if there was only one guy patrolling for months, there was still a RAT PATROL.
The last half of 2016, myself and a few key people to its success vowed we need to get serious about this. Eventually we had another meeting. That was in November. Attended by over a hundred people !!
We have a good nucleus of men and women who are committed to this “project”. And it is a work-in-progress. But we have some good energy and momentum now.
My vision for RP is to grow our roster to the point where we have almost daily coverage for a minimum of 4-6 hours a day.
Currently have 35-40 people who have expressed interest in actively patrolling, and several others who can work a command post ( on the radio with us from your home) while we are mobile.
That’s what you can do if you are unable to physically get out on the street.
Logistically, we are short people. We need more of you!
We are currently doing the best we can. And with each patrol we do, we establish a presence that is hard to ignore or miss. Further, my vision also includes a working relationship with our police in our district. With every patrol we try to be cognizant of the fact we are still in the early stages of building trust, support, and rapport with residents and neighbors! We understand the value of having the support of the SLPD and will continue to foster a good relationship with them. We exist to HELP police, not hinder them.
The final piece of the overall vision is to see the RP take root and grow in other neighborhoods throughout the city. Then there would be overlapping coverage. There would be meetings to discuss safety and progress of the RP organization.
But that’s only a vision for now…
One step at a time. I really do have a regular job.
So what do we do?
We have been patrolling the area beyond Grand to the east over to Morganford and just beyond Loughborough to the south up to Bates Ave. When you cruise around at 5-10 mph it takes a while to monitor that square mile.. Alleys included. So you can easily see the need for more people. We use flashing yellow or yellow/white beacons on top while also using emergency flashers. Further identifying marks has been our placard: HOLLY HILLS SECURITY – RAT PATROL. We keep our flashlights handy. If you’re more of the fitness type, you can walk and bring your dog. Dogs are most welcome! Or you can ride a bike.
We wear reflective clothing or vests as safety is paramount in this effort. We use an app on our phones to communicate in real time.
I plan on keeping a meeting schedule no less than quarterly.
Possibly more if the members want to.
If you’d like more info on this, please feel free to contact me on NextDoor or my email.
I will leave you with this thought: My feelings for this neighborhood are not a secret. I didn’t even grow up here. It just feels like I did.
Therefore, I love it. I respect the history behind it. I love my friends, I love Holly Hills, and the people who live here. But I am concerned for all of the city. We all should be. Never take it for granted. It doesn’t matter if you are just passing through or you are a “lifer” this IS our home. I respect the history, but I look to the future with great confidence.
I feel like THE RAT PATROL can help.
Can you help me?
Thank you for your support
Please click on the links below to contact Mario or Greg for further info or to volunteer for a patrol.
Click here to email Mario.
Click here to email Greg.