“It starts at the home,” said officer Sean Connolly, addressing residents at the Maryvale Community Center for the first Coffee with a Cop meeting of the year. Connolly, the neighborhood’s outgoing police commander, urged attendants to speak with their children about how to avoid gangs and crime. His message didn’t fall on deaf ears, since moms made up a large portion of those in attendance.

Representatives of several block watches made up of Latina moms were also at the meeting. Many of those groups have taken it upon themselves to work directly with police to ensure safety for their children and communities.

Among them were the Estrella Super Moms Block Watch, many who attended with their small children. “The Super Moms is a wonderful group of moms of Latino heritage that partner with us on fantastic levels doing amazing things in the community,” says Connolly.

Also in attendance was Monica Vaquer, vice president of the Peralta Lions Block Watch, a neighborhood watch group that works to alert Phoenix police of suspicious activity on their block. “We come over to hear what is going on in the streets and what we can do the help them,” she says. “We are watching every day.”