Seoul to recruit dog owners as local neighborhood watchmen

Kim Joo-heon Reporter() | Posted : April 12, 2022, 14:04 | Updated : April 12, 2022, 14:04

[Courtesy of Seoul City]

SEOUL -- Seoul will demonstrate a local community security service program in which dog owners can participate as a local neighborhood watch group. A total of 100 servicemen will patrol their neighborhood to monitor criminal activities and safety hazards such as a fire while walking their dogs.
 
According to a survey conducted by South Korea's rural affairs ministry, about 6.3 million households are keeping at least one kind of pet as of December 2020. The domestic pet market has grown rapidly since 2020 due to the first wave of a coronavirus pandemic that made remote-working single households spend more time at home with their pet companions. As of August 2021, single households accounted for 34.9 percent of total households in Seoul, the capital city with a population of 9.7 million.
 
According to Kang Hyeong-wook, a famous professional dog trainer, going for walks with a dog is an owner's responsibility and duty because the sessions involving a master and his or her dog is an important daily chore. Dogs can sniff around their surrounding environment to relieve stress and exercise. However, some 48 percent of single-person households in Seoul are young people in their 20s and 30s who lack time to stay with their dogs as they usually get off work at 6 p.m. and travel for about an hour to return home.
 
Seoul said in a statement on April 12 that the city will operate a dog patrol program in the southeastern Seoul district of Gangdong in May. While walking with a dog, masters are required to report dangerous situations including criminal activities and facility damages. About 100 dog owners will be selected. Members of the neighborhood watch are required to go for a stroll with their dogs at least three times a week. After a test run, the program will be operated in other areas in Seoul.
 
South Korea has about 110,000 voluntary nightguards that consistently monitor local crime activities including street fights and prostitution. The servicemen report such activities to local police stations. They also help drunkards sleeping on the side of a road and women to safely return home at night. "Through a successful demonstration, we will lay the groundwork for establishing a public security infrastructure where residents can engage in providing crime prevention services," Seoul municipal police agency head Kim Hak-bae said in a statement.  
 
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