Neighborhood Watch

How to Start a Neighborhood Watch

Across the country, citizens are coming together to form community watch groups – both at the suggestion of local police, and as a way to cut down on crime in different neighborhoods.
For numerous different reasons, community watch type organizations can be an important part of the fight against crime. And best of all, forming your own community watch doesn't have to be expensive, difficult, or time-consuming. If you are interested in keeping your neighborhood safer with the community watch program, here are a handful of practical tips to help you get started:

Start a group with clear goals.

Most community watch groups devote evening hours to watching for suspicious activity, preventing theft, and checking in on elderly residents from time to time to ensure that they are safe and healthy. Set clear goals for your own group, including the streets you'll look after, times you'll meet, and how activities will be reported and coordinated.

Devise a simple neighborhood watch schedule.

For most neighborhood watch groups, a simple spreadsheet (or free calendar program available on the Internet) is all that is needed to sign up volunteers for different time slots. Be aware that you may not have coverage every night of the week in the beginning. Having even some protection is better than none at all.

Use flyers, websites, and other tools to spread the word.

You'll want to post as much material as you can about your neighborhood watch program around the community. On the one hand, it will encourage others to volunteer and be involved; and on the other hand, public notices serve as a warning to criminals that your group is looking out for them.

Get in touch with your local police department.

Good community watch teams work in conjunction with their local police. Not only can the authorities give you the right protocols for reporting suspicious cars, individuals, etc., but can also probably pass along some advice on finding new members, board meetings, and so on. Police departments love community watch groups, since they reduce the burden placed on law enforcement, so be sure to get them involved.

Report any suspicious activity, and utilize websites like this one.

Of course, it goes without saying that your neighborhood watch team should call the police with any information on potential crimes. Additionally, have your members look through our site regularly, to see if they can identify any wanted persons and provide tips to help the police locate them.
A neighborhood watch program can help decrease crime, help citizens feel safer, and even increase property values in your neighborhood. All you need is a handful of concerned, vigilant people to get started, so why not take advantage of this important crime prevention activity?

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