You’ve seen the signs for them around various neighborhoods, but have you ever considered actually starting a neighborhood watch group in your community? They are great way to ensure that your community is kept safe.
According to the National Crime Prevention Council a neighborhood watch group is an “Organized group of neighborhood residents who watch out for criminal and suspicious behavior and report it to local law enforcement help prevent crime and promote cooperation among residents and police.” Basically, a group of residents who agree to look out for the community without involving themselves in any danger. It\’s more about being aware and looking out for your neighbors when they are unable to look out for themselves. If anything, neighborhood watch groups are aiding the police department. With officers in charge of covering large areas, it would be impossible for them to be aware of all of the activity in the community. Having several neighbors within the community on alert could be very helpful to these officers.
In addition to preventing crime by being aware of activity in the area, neighborhood watch groups can help get the word out when crimes have occurred. Setting up an email list that goes to the whole neighborhood can be very beneficial. If cars or homes are being broken into or suspicious activity has been occurring, an email list is an easy way to let the entire community know to be extra careful.
The NCPC offers tips on starting your own neighborhood watch group.
1. Identify the key leaders of the group. These are often the people that are more concerned about safety and crime prevention in the neighborhood. They can be great motivators for the rest of the group.
2. The neighborhood should be divided into sections so that it can be more easily monitored. Certain members of the group should be assigned to certain areas. This type of specialization will lead to a more effective group.
3. Develop a communication network not only amongst the members of the group but also law enforcement officials and the rest of the neighbors and community.
4. Training: It is essential that groups be trained by their local law enforcement officials. They can train members to properly prevent crime and to communicate effectively for recruitment and awareness purposes.
Neighborhood watch groups have been extremely effective in communities all over the country. Start one in your neighborhood today to keep yourself and the members of your community safe!