How to Start a Neighborhood Watch Program


September 15, 2006   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

My community is now looking for people to act as Neighborhood Watch leaders and, of course, I was the first in line. I will be managing about 2 blocks of homes. What these programs really do is build awareness. In my opinion, Homeowners, renters and the like are more apt to care and look out the window more often based on a community’s involvement.

Sure you get those deterring signs to post around the community, but really, its about getting people involved and ensuring they know what to do when they see Johnny Badguy breaking into the home across the street.

So, as usual. I looked around for some good ways to learn about this. Here is what I found:

Neighborhood Watch Programs typically involve the following activities:

  • Neighbors getting to know one another and working in a program of mutual assistance
  • Training to assist neighbors in recognizing and reporting suspicious activities in their neighborhoods
  • Implementation of crime prevention programs, such as Operation Identification – recording serial numbers from your possessions, Increased neighborhood lighting – improving night-time safety, and Security Inspections – improving the security measures in neighborhood homes

Why Neighborhood Watch?

  • There cannot be a law enforcement officer on every corner, so citizen involvement is essential to combat crime.
  • You and your neighbors are the ones who really know what is going on in your community.
  • By cooperating with each other and the police, people can help fight crime in their community in the most effective way-before it begins!

Getting Organized

Forming a Neighborhood Watch is a challenge. Here are a few tips to get your group started.

  • Contact the Police Department for help in organizing a Neighborhood Watch. The Police Department will be able to assist in training members in home security and reporting skills as well as provide information on local crime patterns.
  • Select a coordinator and block captains who are responsible for organizing meetings and relaying information to members.
  • Recruit members, keeping up-to-date on new residents and making special efforts to involve the elderly, working parents, and young people.
  • Work with local government and law enforcement to put up Neighborhood Watch signs, usually after at least 50 percent of all households are enrolled.

Neighbors Should Look For…

  • Someone screaming or shouting for help
  • Someone looking into windows and parked cars
  • Unusual noises
  • Property being taken out of closed businesses or houses where no one is at home
  • Cars, vans, or trucks moving slowly with no apparent destination, or without lights
  • Anyone being forced into a vehicle
  • A stranger sitting in a car or stopping to talk to a child
  • Abandoned cars

For more information on starting your Neighborhood Watch program, simply call your Police Department.
Sources: Fayetteville, AR PD, Naperville,IL PD.


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