Crime Prevention: Neighborhood Watch
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Starting a Neighborhood Watch


Phase Two: When the neighborhood decides to adopt the Watch Idea, elect a chairperson.

• Ask for block captain volunteers who are responsible for relaying information to members on their block, keeping up-to-date information on residents, and making special efforts to involve the elderly, working parents, and young people. Block captains also can serve as liaisons between the neighborhood and the police and communicate information about meetings and crime incidents to all residents.

• Establish a regular means of communicating with Watch members—e.g.,
newsletter, telephone tree, e-mall, fax, etc.

• Prepare a neighborhood map showing names, addresses, and phone numbers of participating households and distribute to members. Block captains keep this map up to date, contacting newcomers to the neighborhood and rechecking occasionally with ongoing participants.

• With guidance from a law enforcement agency, the Watch trains its members in home security techniques, observation skills and crime reporting. Residents also learn about the types of crime that affect the area.

• If you are ready to post Neighborhood Watch signs, check with law enforcement to see if they have such eligibility requirements as number of houses that participate in the program. Law enforcement may also be able to provide your program with signs. If not, they can probably tell you where you can order them.

• Organizers and block captains must emphasize that Watch groups are not vigilantes and do not assume the role of the police. They only ask neighbors to be alert, observant, and caring—and to report suspicious activity or crimes immediately to the police.

• The Watch concept is adaptable. There are Park Watches, Apartment Watches, Window Watches, Boat Watches, School Watches, Realtor Watches, Utility Watches, and Business Watches. A Watch can be organized around any geographic unit.

 

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