Last night, my husband and I met up with a neighbor and did our first "Citizens on Patrol" walk. There has been a surge in petty crime (theft from vehicle, theft from garage, etc) and not so petty crime (armed robbery, burglary) in our area. It appears to be mostly the work of teenagers, and several arrests have been made. But rather than sit around and fret about it, we decided to take the Northern Police District's advice and start community patrols. We have some folks who patrol by car, late at night. Some folks are doing a daytime, afternoon patrol. And we are walking, with dogs, in the early evening.
It's not a huge time commitment, basically 1-2 hours per week. The dog loved it. He got a walk in the evening, and we went down alleys and really dark streets, which he thought was cool. Even better -- there were also other dogs to walk with.
Other than being a visible presence, and preventing crime by just being around, I am not sure what value this all will have. But it is exercise, it is pleasant for the dog, we meet new neighbors, and we show we care about the neighborhood. All good bennies, even if we achieve nothing more tangible.