One of the most powerful and economical ways to reduce crime and terror in your community is with a trusty Neighborhood Watch. A Neighborhood Watch program works to prevent crime caused by division and isolation.
It improves relationships between people and businesses, reduces burglaries and robberies, and enhances police-community relations within a neighborhood, while fostering a culture of safety and security.
Brief History Of The Neighborhood Watch
After a dozen witnesses failed to save Kitty Genovese, a New Yorker who was raped and murdered in the 1960s, national law enforcement agencies began urging residents to report local crimes, and the National Sheriffs’ Association launched a nationwide “watch group” effort in 1972.
Neighborhood Watch programs were reinforced after 9/11, and are still going strong today, with consideration to many of the program’s pros and cons.
What Are Some Benefits Of Having A Neighborhood Watch In Your Community?
A Neighborhood Watch program enlists residents’ active engagement in collaboration with law enforcement to reduce crime, address issues, and improve the quality of life in the neighborhood. In this program, you will learn how to recognize and report crimes, as well as how to safeguard yourself, your family, and your property.
Heightened Sense Of Responsibility And Control
An organized neighborhood watch program enlists the active participation of the citizens within the local community. It is expected that each individual or household will look out for one another in order to develop an environment of active participation that will ultimately lead to crime prevention.
United Front In Neighborhoods
While a neighborhood watch does not require anybody to put their lives in danger in order to prevent crime, the solidarity created by neighborhood watch groups creates a united front. Much so with the help of neighborhood watch signs, that work to deter crime and discourage them from engaging in suspicious activity or criminal activity.
Improved Relations With Law Enforcement
The program aims to enhance the partnership between the community and law enforcement agencies while leaving the duty of apprehending offenders in the hands of the police department.
It also provides access to crime patterns and trends that may affect the neighborhood and provides residents with access to information that encourages vigilance and personal accountability.
Overall Quality Of Life Is Better
Every individual will feel more comfortable while going about their daily activities with the presence of neighborhood watch groups. A good sense of community and belonging will motivate residents to move about the area easily and comfortably, ensuring that nobody feels unsafe while walking down alleys or riding bikes to work.
How To Form Your Own Community’s Neighborhood Watch
Since everyone is concerned about their individual safety and the safety of their families, it can be difficult to persuade community members to think about the neighborhood’s collective safety, This is even more prevalent in suburban and rural communities with children where many people rely on the police department.
The first step in that process is to determine whether or not a neighborhood watch is even required. Conduct research based on information acquired within your neighborhood such as the frequency of suspicious activities, if people carry hidden cameras, or if residents generally feel unsafe. Gather these issues and promote the idea so you can establish an action plan.
Using brochures or digital marketing campaigns via social media, text messaging, or email newsletters, you can encourage neighbors who are concerned about their safety to support and participate following a recent traumatic event in your community. Finally, organize a fun event or hold a meeting to get the kids and teenagers involved.
Collective Safety Is A Priority
There is a lot of wiggle room in organizing a neighborhood watch group that anyone, regardless of color, class, or background, can join. Individual safety improves as a result of the shared purpose of providing community safety for those with children, pets, and families so it’s important to emphasize that every individual in the community will be accounted for.
There are several tangible approaches to forming a group around a geographical unit, such as:
- Block: Survey your block and looking for reccuring issues and suspicious activities that bother the residents then coordinate with the block captain about how these problems can be addressed.
- Apartment: If you live in an apartment, you can coordinate with the guards and hold a meeting with the tenants to discuss collective efforts toward crime prevention.
- Park: Many families spend time in parks and it’s a great idea to come up with a program that protects children, pets, and other individuals who frequent the place.
- Business Area: Although business areas are typically protected by security guards and surveillance cameras, a neighborhood watch can enhance security measures and provide a stronger sense of safety.
- Public Housing Complex: A lot of suspicious and criminal activity takes place in public housing complexes. You can initiate the effort to safeguard the area by gathering people and forming groups on the site.
- Office: An office is typically a safe space but it’s important to extend safety measures to the surrounding streets with utmost discretion. Set up a team that is responsible for gathering concerns and encourage everyone to cooperate. Stay connected on social networks or via group chats for frequent updates on community meetings and news.
- Marina: If you’re part of a marina community, you can gather information about suspicious activity and other concerns that everyone can address as a whole as well as discuss how you can all keep trespassers away.
Frequently Asked Questions About Neighborhood Watch
Starting a Neighborhood Watch can be intimidating. Fortunately, we have the answers to the most common questions about forming a Neighborhood Watch group.
Where can I get Neighborhood Watch merchandise such as signs?
Numerous vendors provide Neighborhood Watch signs online. Additionally, you can contact your local law enforcement to see if they have any available signages.
What is the function of the National Sheriffs’ Association in the National Neighborhood Watch program?
The National Sheriffs’ Association is the organization that created the National Neighborhood Watch program. It’s a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing professionalism among people working in the criminal justice industry, and it serves as the program’s primary contact and regulator.
What are the requirements for establishing a Neighborhood Watch?
To establish a Neighborhood Watch program in your community, you must first form a relationship with a law enforcement agency. More information is available on the National Neighborhood Watch website.
It takes time and effort to get neighbors acquainted in order for them to work cooperatively. The effort will be worthwhile if everyone chooses to collaborate to achieve collective and individual safety.If you believe that a Neighborhood Watch is not the best way to foster a secure atmosphere in your community, visit Be-Safe.org to discover what else you can do to improve your community’s safety.