Senate Bill No. 558
(By Senator Minard)
[Introduced February 12, 2010; referred to the Committee on the
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated §6-3A-1, §6-3A-2 and
§6-3A-3, all relating to neighborhood crime watch programs;
creation of the organization; purpose of the program; criminal
penalties for harassing members of the program; and procedures
for maintaining the anonymity of members of this group and
others that report crimes.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new article, designated §6-3A-1, §6-3A-2 and
§6-3A-3, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3A. NEIGHBORHOOD CRIME WATCH.
§6-3A-1. Establishment of neighborhood crime watch programs;
(a) A county sheriff or municipal police department may promote and assist in establishing neighborhood crime watch
programs within the county or municipality. The participants of a
neighborhood crime watch program shall include, but need not be
limited to, residents of the county or municipality and owners of
businesses located within the county or municipality.
(b) The purpose of neighborhood crime watch programs are to
utilize volunteers to proactively protect their neighborhoods and
inform the public of procedures that are available that offer
anonymity to people who report criminal activity in their
§6-3A-2. Harassment of participants of neighborhood crime watch
program prohibited; penalty; and definitions.
(a) Any person that willfully harasses, threatens or
intimidates an identifiable member of a neighborhood crime watch
program while such member is engaged in, or traveling to or from,
an organized neighborhood crime watch program activity or a member
who is participating in an ongoing criminal investigation as
designated by a law-enforcement officer is guilty of a misdemeanor
and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $1,000
or confined in jail for a period of not more than one year, or both
fined and confined.
(b) As used in this section, the term:
(1) "Harass" means, to engage in a course of conduct directed
at a specific person or group of persons which causes substantial
emotional distress in that person or persons.
(2) "Organized neighborhood crime watch program activity"
means any prearranged event, meeting or other scheduled activity,
or neighborhood patrol, conducted by or at the direction of a
neighborhood crime watch program, the program's authorized designee
or the county sheriff or municipal police department.
§6-3A-3. Records not subject to Freedom of Information Act
Records that would reveal the names, home addresses, telephone
numbers, e-mail addresses or any other data or information
developed, collected or received by counties or municipalities in
connection with neighborhood crime watch programs are not subject
to Freedom of Information Act requests: Provided,
police reports and initial incident reports shall remain subject to
disclosure but any mention of the names, home addresses, telephone
numbers, e-mail addresses or any other information that could be
used to identify the source of the information on the police report
is redacted out.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create neighborhood crime
watch programs, develop penalties for harassing officials of this
programs and creating a policy that will maintain informants
This article is new; therefore strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.