'Paws on Patrol': Residents fighting crime with 4-legged friends

MUKILTEO, Wash. -- Betsy Petre walks her Havanese, Winnie, about four to five times a day in their Mukilteo neighborhood, but now their walks have a little more purpose -- they're helping fight crime.

"You're just the eyes and ears," said Petre. "You're just supposed to keep watch out for anything different and then you're supposed to call 911 and explain everything."

Petre is one of about 10 other dog owners in Mukilteo working with the Mukilteo Police Department's "Paws on Patrol" program where dog walkers keep any eye out for suspicious activity.

"The program is about empowering dog walkers to walk their dogs throughout the day at different hours and times," said Crime Prevention Officer Colt Davis who organized "Paws for Patrol."

The program is designed after a national campaign. It aims to make dog owners more aware of their surroundings during walks and to know exactly where they are when reporting suspicious activity

"The biggest thing is to give us your location," said Davis. "A lot of people -- when they're walking their dogs -- they kind of just know the route they go on every day they don't know the actual address or street they're on."

In all, Petre walks about three or four miles a day around her neighborhood. She's retired and does most of her walks during the day while most are away.

"A lot of people work and their houses are empty and if you notice that somebody's around the house and you know that they're not supposed to be that's a good thing," said Petre.

Petre, who became a dog owner just eight months ago, said the walks are now part of a daily routine that's good for her and the neighborhood.

"I think it's a really good idea, especially because there's other neighborhoods that don't have as much control, I think, as we do. I think it's a great idea," said Petre.

Participants will get red bandanas for their dogs. Police want them visible to help warn any criminals there are extra eyes in the neighborhood looking for suspicious activity.