Starting a Neighborhood Watch Program
If you have been approached to start a group, or if you believe this type of group would be beneficial to a neighborhood, here are a few ideas to get started.
1 – Offer to host a start-up meeting to gauge the interest and needs of the group.
If you have been approached by the HOA manager or leaders in a community, offer to host a meeting. Many times, homeowners believe Neighborhood Watch will fix a problem. Once the problem is remedied, the group loses interest. Be sure to share realistic expectations.
If there are multiple concerns with a variety of interest, the Neighborhood Watch Program may be beneficial. Make sure those that are interested understand that Neighborhood Watch is a Communication Partnership. Participants serve as the “Eyes & Ears” for law enforcement.
2 – Explain what Neighborhood Watch is, and what it isn’t.
Residents serve as “eyes & ears” for law enforcement.
Residents are “neighbors looking out for neighbors”.
Participants look out for each other and call law enforcement whenever somethings seems out-of-place.
Neighborhood Watch is only effective if maintained by residents and law enforcement.
3 – Describe the roles and responsibilities.
It’s especially important for all to understand the expectations of the Block Captains & Coordinator. Often, many want to help, but do not want to make a large time commitment. Once the program is in place, a large time commitment is not necessary.
4 – Communication is key!
Decide how to best communicate with the group. (Are privacy issues a concern?) Is an email program already in place? Will newsletter articles reach more residents in the area? What about other forms of social media? The group will be able to determine what’s best for their community.
Also, determine how often to communicate with the group. Are quarterly meetings with monthly crime prevention tips enough to sustain interest? Be sure to share suspicious activity and local scams as they arise. Make sure the coordinator (communication liaison) shares the information with the group.
5 – Stress the importance of calling law enforcement about suspicious activities.
Remind attendees that all information is useful…. even little details help paint a bigger picture.
“If you see something, say something.”
Neighborhood Watch is a community based – law enforcement supported “partnership”.
National Neighborhood Watch: https://www.nnw.org/about-national-neigborhood-watch
Neighborhood Watch Manual: https://bja.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh186/files/Publications/NSA_NW_Manual.pdf