What is a Neighborhood Watch Program?
According to the USAOnWatch.org, the national Neighborhood Watch organization and a part of the National Sheriffs’ Association, a neighborhood watch allows citizens to help in the fight against crime and offers an opportunity for communities to bond through service.
Why would we need one?
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, crimes have a lasting effect on communities as well as individuals. A Neighborhood Watch program can help to decrease crime and bring your community together.
Steps for Starting a Neighborhood Watch Program
1. Get educated. Visit USAOnWatch.org to learn about setting up a neighborhood watch in your community. Visit http://www.victimsofcrime.org and your local law enforcement agencies for information about crime in your area and how to mobilize your group.
2. Organize. Make one-on-one connections with neighbors by going door to door. Invite them to an initial Neighborhood Watch presentation.
3. Contact your local law enforcement agency. Invite them to meet with your group. Law enforcement should be able to share valuable information about how to keep your community members safe and how to handle incidents should they occur. They can often provide training for Neighborhood Watch volunteers including learning how to report suspicious activity and crime prevention techniques such as home security, personal safety and Operation Identification.
5. Hold the initial presentation and develop a regular meeting and communication calendar. Give community members a chance to voice concerns and be a part of organizing solutions. Decide on a communication and follow up plan. Set up a regular monthly or more frequent meeting schedule to engage community members and respond to issues.
Neighborhood watch programs can be an invaluable resource in reducing crime and fostering community.