Crime Prevention: Neighborhood Watch
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Starting a Neighborhood Watch


Tips for Success

Hold regular meetings to help residents get to know each other and to collectively decide upon program strategies and activities.

Consider linking with an existing organization, such as a citizens' association, community development office, tenants' association, housing authority.

Canvas door-to-door to recruit members.

Involve everyone --young and old, single and married, renter and homeowner.

Gain support from the police department. This is critical to a Watch group's credibility. The agency are the major sources of information on local crime patterns, home security, other crime prevention education and crime reporting.

Get the information out quickly. Share all kinds of news -- discredit rumors.

Gather the facts about crime in your neighborhood. Check police reports, do victimization surveys, and learn residents' perceptions about crime. Often residents' opinions are not supported by facts, and accurate information can reduce fear of crime.

Physical conditions like abandoned cars or overgrown vacant lots contribute to crime. Sponsor cleanups, encourage residents to beautify the area, and ask them to turn on outdoor lights at night.

It's essential to celebrate the success of the effort and recognize volunteers' contributions through such events as awards, annual dinners, and parties. To help meet community needs, Neighborhood Watches can sponsor meetings that address broader issues such as drug abuse, gangs, self-protection tactics, isolation of the elderly, crime in the schools and rape prevention.

Don't forget events like National Night Out or a potluck dinner that gives neighbors a chance to get together. Such items as pins, t-shirts, hats, or coffee mugs with the group's name also enhance identity and pride.
 

 Online Services
\ Crime Reports
Crime Reports allows residents to stay informed about crime in your neighborhood. This is a great community awareness tool to target a specific location and timeframe. Log on HERE to be more informed.
Sexual Predators
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement opens this resource to users in order to enter any address in Florida and search the Florida Sexual Offender/Predator Registry. A map is also available. Log on HERE to start the search.
Purchase Accident Reports
If you need to obtain an accident report that occurred in the City of Winter Haven, you can obtain one from the convenience of your home. Click HERE to begin a search for the report. (Please note there may be a fee associated with this service)
Inmate Search
All arrestees in Polk County are taken to the Polk County Jail and booked into that facility. Click HERE to access the Polk County Sheriff's site for inmate information.
   
 
 

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