STARTING AND GROWING A NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH

Heather Nye, an Outreach Intern from the National Home Security Alliance, Staysafe.org asked me if i would post this article on Starting and growing a Neighborhood Watch. My 30 years as a police officer I always loved working with the community. In today's current climate where there are a lot of misunderstandings and often times mistrust of police I feel that groups like the neighborhood watch is a great way to build mutual trust between the people and the police.

Neighborhood Watch programs help keep neighborhoods and communities safe. Starting your own crime prevention program—or reviving one that’s already been started in your neighborhood—can reduce crime in your area and give you a greater sense of security, and can even help improve your property’s value.

If you live in an area without a watch program, it is even possible to begin your own. Crime prevention programs require organization, good communication with other people from your neighborhood and good problem-solving skills, but by working in partnership with the police and your neighbors, you can start a successful crime watch group.

With crime on the rise, the National Sheriffs Association created the Neighborhood Watch program in 1972 to help improve community safety, bring neighborhoods together and increase awareness of neighborhood activities. Crime prevention programs were intended to give residents with a feeling of responsibility for the condition and safety of the neighborhood, and each crime prevention program served as a link between neighborhoods, police and other law enforcement to reduce all forms of crime.

This grassroots effort has grown since its early days. In 2000, it was estimated that 40 percent of residential neighborhoods in the U.S. were covered by a crime watch program. Since September 11, the Neighborhood Watch program has expanded its focus beyond neighborhood safety into emergency preparedness and terrorism awareness.

Benefits of Neighborhood Watch

The chief aims of a Neighborhood Watch program are to report suspicious activity, reduce crime, and increase neighborhood safety. While beginning a Neighborhood Watch Program is not a guarantee of crime reduction, studies show that neighborhoods will experience an average of a 16-percent crime reduction under the protection of a Neighborhood Watch program.

Some other benefits of Neighborhood Watch include:

An increased sense of responsibility and control. These programs help citizens feel empowered in their everyday lives, which can help reduce fear and may lead to an increased sense of personal security.

Greater unity within neighborhoods. Regular meetings bring neighbors together to talk and get to know one another. This leads to a greater sense of unity within the neighborhood and can also bring neighbors together as friends

Improved relations with law enforcement. Crime watch programs increase contacts between neighbors and law enforcement, leading to more productive and comfortable relationships.

Better community unity. Having something in common, like membership in a Neighborhood Watch Program, brings people together and builds community unity.

Improved quality of life. When crime goes down, the quality of life improves for residents. Safer neighborhoods mean happier residents and a better place to live.

There is a lot more information in this article such as:

  • First steps in forming a group;
  • Gauging interest;
  • Plan the first meeting
  • Organizing the group and:
  • Taking Action

Be sure to check it out. I think you will find it of value.

Stay Oriented!

Fred