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Neighborhood Watch
Neighborhood Watch Newsletter
Beginnng a Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch, Block Watch, Town Watch, Crime Watch--whatever the name, it's one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear. Neighborhood Watch fights the isolation that crime both creates and feeds upon. It forges bonds among area residents, helps reduce burglaries and robberies, and improves relation between police and the communities they serve.


The ABC'S of Neighborhood Watch
  • Any community resident can join--young and old, single and married, renter and home owner.
  • A few concerned residents, a community organization, or a law enforcement agency can spearhead the effort to organize a Watch.
  • Members learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for each other and the neighborhood, and report activities that raise their suspicions to the police or sheriff's office.
  • You can form a Watch group around any geographical unit; a block, apartment, park, business area, public housing complex, office, marina.
  • Watch groups are not vigilantes. They are extra eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors. Neighborhood Watch helps build pride and serves as a springboard for efforts that address community concerns such as recreation for youth, child care, and affordable housing.

Getting Organized

When a group decides to form a Neighborhood Watch, it:

  • Contacts the police or sheriff's department or local crime prevention organization for help in training members in home security and reporting skills and for information on local crime patterns.
  • Selects 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.
  • Works with local government or law enforcement to put up Neighboorhood Watch signs, usually after or least 50 percent of all households are enrolled.

Neighbors Look For...

  • Someone screaming or shouting for help.
  • Someone looking into windows and parked cars.
  • Unusual noises.
  • Property being taken out of houses where no one is at home or closed businesses.
  • Cars, vans, or trucks moving slowing 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.
Report these incidents to the police of sheriff's department. Talk about the problem with your neighbors.

How to Report

  • Give your name and address.
  • Briefly describe the event--what happened, when, where, and who was involved.
  • Describe the suspect: sex and race, age, height, weight, hair color, clothing, distinctive characteristics such a beard, mustache, scars, or accent.
  • Describe the vehicle if one was involved: color, make, model, year, licens plate, and special features such as stickers, dents, or decals.

Staying Alive

It's an unfortunate fact that when a neighborhood crime crisis goes away, so does enthusiasm for Neighborhood Watch. Work to keep your Watch group a vital force for community well-being.

  • Organize regular meetings that focus on current issues such as drug abuse, "hate" or bias-motivated violence, crime in schools, child care before and after school, recreational activities for young people, and victim services.
  • Organize community patrols to walk around streets or apartment complexes and alert police to crime and suspicious activities and identify problems needing attention. People in cars with cellular phones or CB radios can patrol.
  • Adopt a park or school playground. Pick up litter, repair broken equipment, paint over graffiti.
  • Work with local building code officials to require dead bolt locks, smoke alarms and other safety devices in new and existing homes and commercial buildings.
  • Publish a newsletter that gives prevention tips and local crime news, recognizes residents of all ages who have "made a difference," and highlights community events.
  • Don't forget social events that give neighbors a chance to know each other--a block party, potluck dinner, volleyball or softball game, picnic.