A lot of us pay a little extra attention to the house next door or across the street when our neighbors are gone, but taking it a step further and creating a neighborhood watch program may be the ticket to an even more crime-free home base.
Launched in 1972, the official Neighborhood Watch program was designed to count on citizens to organize themselves and work with law enforcement to keep a trained eye and ear on their communities, while demonstrating their presence at all times of day and night. According to the National Sheriff’s Association, Neighborhood Watch works because it reduces opportunities for crime to occur; it doesn’t rely on altering or changing the criminal’s behavior or motivation.
Over time the program has found its way into neighborhoods all over America, borrowing from the principles of the original program to create groups, often called citizen alert, community watch, block watch, or another variation.
Why start a neighborhood watch group?
- The most obvious reason to organize a neighborhood watch program is to prevent crime. Groups that meet regularly and communicate efficiently are the most effective at reducing incidents.
- Another reason to form a group is to create awareness and camaraderie. Alert neighbors can stop crime and keep residents, safe while making the neighborhood a more welcoming environment.
- In addition, neighborhood watch groups can alert you to other issues, such as cars speeding through neighborhoods, challenges with children, and animal control issues. Together, you can solve more challenges that arise, while building friendships!
How do you get started forming a neighborhood watch group?
- Recruit your neighbors to participate.
- Contact law enforcement to receive the training and information you need.
- Discuss concerns and create a plan – what is most important to you and your neighbors?
- Establish your neighborhood’s method of communication.
- Hold regular meetings and training exercises to keep engaged.
- Don’t be a vigilante! Report suspicious activity to police immediately.
Even with all of today’s surveillance technology, you can’t beat people watching out for people. Check out Neighborhood Watch if you are ready to get started watching out for your neighbors.