The term "watch dog" has taking on a whole new meaning in several communities throughout the country thanks to a local program.
The National Association of Town Watch, based out of Wynnewood, Pa., started the Dog Walker Watch program just six months ago and it's been increasing in popularity ever since.
Executive Director Matt Peskin came up with the program from walking his own dog around the neighborhood. He noticed many fellow walkers often had their head down and weren't really taking in their surroundings.
This program hopes to change that behavior and channel it into a way to help fight crime.
Dog walkers are being encouraged to be on high alert for suspicious activity while taking their four-legged friends out for some exercise in their neighborhoods. Not only are they keeping their pooches healthy, they're keeping watch on the happenings in their 'hood!
According to National Town Watch website, the program is organized by local town watch groups and law enforcement agencies conduct a training session before sending out the "troops."
The dog-walkers are trained to “effectively observe and report criminal activity.”
Although founded in a Philly suburb, the innovative program has grown outside of Pennsylvania.
Miami Township Police in Southern Ohio kicked off their Dog Walker Watch just last month as did Suisun City, Calif., according to the Association.
Right now there's about 650 areas registered in the program. With National Night Out approaching Peskin says he's confident that number will double following the event that will take place across the country Aug. 5 to promote involvement in crime prevention activities and neighborhood camaraderie.
Ultimately Peskin hopes that criminals may start to notice dog walkers and question whether they're in the program and going to report something that they saw.
The Dog Walker Watch "will give them (the criminal) less opportunity and force them elsewhere."
If the Dog Walker Watch sounds like a good idea for your community, sign up here.