Draper’s Neighborhood Watch
Gets A Makeover

Debi D’Amico Brings New Energy, New App to Program

Draper is a relatively low-crime community to live in and will remain so if resident Debi D’Amico has her way.

D’Amico, a mom of four and grandma of three, is the new crime prevention specialist with the Draper City Police Department. She is putting a fresh face on the neighborhood watch program through her energy, her desire to help people and with the help of a free smartphone app.

“I care about this community and I want to make it a safer place,” says D’Amico, who started working on Draper’s Neighborhood Watch Program in February. Prior to that, she worked in the mortgage and real estate industry for 25 years. It wasn’t until three years ago when her stepson was shot and nearly killed (in Salt Lake City) that her life changed.

The shooting changed heroutlook.

“It makes you re-evaluate how valuable family is and how much you want to be with them,” she says. In the high-pressure mortgage and real estate world she was working non-stop and hardly home.

She decided to redefine her goals and pursue her passion—criminal law—something she knew she wanted to do since childhood, but was sidetracked.

“Criminal law became rooted in my head because, from age 5 to 16, I spent some weekends visiting a close relative at the Utah State Prison,” she recalls. Visiting regulations were different back in the mid 70s and early 80s.

“When we visited, we’d pack up our food, the crock pots, playpens and toys for the kids and bring it out to the prison Saturday morning, pack it up Saturday afternoon and start all over again on Sunday,” she explains. Her visits exposed her to prison life—she talked with convicted felons and played cards with the guards—and cemented her interest in criminal law and the justice system.

A self-described people person, D’Amico says she loves working with Draper Neighborhood Watch because she can interact, educate and assist Draper residents. “I get to work at being pro-active rather than reactive.”

Her goal is to get the word out that Draper is a safe place because its residents are aware.

“We have approximately 40 officers for a city of about 45,000,” she says. “The officers can’t be everywhere all the time. This is why neighborhood awareness is key.” Neighborhood Watch promotes the idea that residents are the eyes and ears of the community. The only commitment needed is awareness and willingness to report suspicious circumstances, people or vehicles. “Draper residents are the best preventative option out there.”

Awareness is simple. It might involve notifying a neighbor if their garage door is open at night, removing valuables from your car or reporting people who case out homes by ringing the doorbell to determine if it is occupied.

A new smartphone app used by Neighborhood Watch called ICE BlackBox makes it simple and easy for residents to document and report suspicious circumstances or criminal actions.

“It’s a one-step, one-button preventative device,” D’Amico says. Plus, it’s free.

If neighbors witness a crime in progress or a suspicious car/person the app allows them, at the push of a button, to video the incident, track the location via GPS, and, if necessary, dial 911 on a secondary button. Video cannot be deleted, edited or lost because it is automatically uploaded to the ICE BlackBox’s secure cloud.

New neighborhood signs reading, “Neighborhood Watch Now: All phones armed with mobile video surveillance” will be installed in areas involved in the watch program.

D’Amico wants potential perpetrators to see the signs and to know that that neighborhood is serious about crime prevention. She says, “I want them to think, ‘Let’s skip this street and the whole community of Draper.’”

For information on the Draper Neighborhood Watch program call or email Debi D’Amico at 801.576.6342 or Debi.Damico@Draper.ut.us