In an effort to appear as a more welcoming neighborhood, the East Calhoun Community Organization (ECCO) voted in April to remove its neighborhood watch signs. The signs warn: “If I don’t call the police, my neighbor will.”
“I personally found the signs rather offensive,” said board president Sarah Sponheim. “They convey a hostile message.”
The signs attracted Sponheim’s notice after the neighborhood replaced about 20 aging East Calhoun signs with a fresh logo. Upon investigation, ECCO learned that the signs may not actually prevent crime, based on research provided by a 5th Precinct crime prevention specialist.
“In some cases, people who live in the neighborhood feel less safe and more vulnerable because the signs are there,” Sponheim said.
The board decided to remove the signs at a cost of no more than $540.
“I’ll feel better in terms of the image we portray to people coming into the neighborhood,” Sponheim said.