|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
• 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
• 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.