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Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch programs go by many names: Community Watch, Crime Watch, Building Watch. But whatever you call it, when neighbors organize to help the police watch over their community, it can make a significant impact on reducing crime and fear in your area.

First Steps

An individual, community organization, or law enforcement agency can initiate a Neighborhood Watch program through a few simple steps:

  • Hold a meeting to talk about crime problems and see if there is enough interest to organize a Watch.
  • Arrange for local law enforcement professionals to train neighbors in home security, crime patterns, what to watch for and how to report it.
  • Select an overall coordinator and block captains to organize volunteers and establish effective communications.
  • Sign up volunteers, including homeowners and renters, business owners, the elderly, working parents, young people … anybody who can help.

Effective Neighborhood Watch Program Essentials

A typical Neighborhood Watch program requires:

  • Regular meetings to keep your organization organized.
  • Volunteers patrolling the neighborhood, on foot or in cars, to spot and report any problems.
  • Regular communications, such as fliers, newsletters, or paper or electronic bulletin board messages.
  • Special events to keep members interested and active, including helpful seminars, block parties, neighborhood clean-ups and tournaments.
  • Special safety programs to meet your community’s unique needs, like a block parent program to help children during emergencies.

What A Neighborhood Watch Does

The typical Watch program involves four ways to make your neighborhood safer:

  • Offers a service to mark valuable items with an identifying number to discourage theft and help the police track down stolen articles.
  • Utilizes proven techniques to make homes safer.
  • Organizes residents in watching over each other and the neighborhood, noting and reporting anything unusual or suspicious to the local authorities, including:
    • Screams or calls for help.
    • Someone looking into cars or homes.
    • A stranger removing items from unoccupied homes or closed businesses.
    • Vehicles cruising slowly or without lights.
    • Anyone being forced into a vehicle.
    • A stranger stopping to talk to a child.
  • Calling 911 or other local emergency number to:
    • Quickly explain what happened.
    • Give your name and address.
    • Describe the suspect’s gender and race, age, height, weight, hair color, clothes, and distinguishing features like facial hair, scars, accent.
    • If a vehicle is involved, report the color, make, model, year, license plate and distinguishing features, like bumper stickers or dents.

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