The Neighborhood Watch can be a life-changer if it’s done correctly. You can talk to all your neighbors about it and decide to create a watch. If everyone complies with your idea, it would be great for everyone living in that area. There are important things that you need to keep in mind about it.
We will discuss everything about armed neighborhood watch under, so keep on reading.
What is Armed Neighborhood Watch?
The armed neighborhood watch constitutes of the people living in a specific area. It is a group of people who want to make their neighborhood safe by working in a coordinated way. They communicate with the local law enforcement and the crime prevention department. The people are taught how to observe and report any unusual activity.
The communities involved in this program don’t have the authority to arrest or to have any weapon with them. These people are the eyes and ears of the crime department. They can have some weapons but after a permit by the local authorities. There are a lot of benefits of it that will be discussed later on in the article.
The crime watch allows neighbors to know each other better and identify them and their vehicle from afar. You should have a map of the neighborhood with names and addresses in case of an emergency. Being observant is the key to this watch and if you are in the watch, make sure to polish your observation.
Can you start an Armed Neighborhood Watch?
Yes, the community members can collectively start an armed neighborhood watch to prevent criminal activities in the area. You can gather all the adults from around the area and make them aware of the situations and ask them to start it.
You can then talk to the local police and then choose a representative among yourself to make plans, lead, and coordinate between everyone. In this way, the members will also gain a sense of responsibility, and they will take care of the properties of others as if there is their own. It needs specific actions to start the watch that we will discuss next.
How to Establish Neighborhood Crime Watch?
Starting a neighborhood crime watch is not as difficult as you may think. There are a few instructions that you need to follow to start the watch. Let’s discuss all the steps one by one to understand how you can gather people and reduce the criminal activities in your area.
The very first step is to organize and recruit the most observant and skilled people from your neighborhood. These people will be working with you to observe and report any suspicious activity happening inside their territory. Make sure to select the most trustworthy and loyal people for the task.
Contact the local law enforcement
Now contact the local law enforcement and the crime prevention department to let them know that you are going to start a neighborhood watch and invite them to visit your group for discussion and a bit of training. They will let you know about all the rules that you need to follow to start the crime watch successfully.
Give the call for the first meeting
Once everything is settled, invite the members chosen to come for the first meeting with the law enforcement to know what rules they need to follow and what plans are made for the neighborhood’s security.
Discuss all the threats and concerns
Discuss all the concerns and threats in the first meeting to make plans according to it. You can also ask for a weapon’s permit, but it is their choice to allows that request or not according to the circumstances.
Create a Plan
Now that all the concerns are on the table, create a defense plan. You can divide the areas into parts and assign a few members to look after them. You can use signboards to let people know where they are and the direction to where they need to go.
You will select a coordinator that will lead you and become a relay between you and the authorities and present a report to them about any activities and the situations if anything happens.
It is time to take action now. Once you have made all the plans, it is time to start working on them. Now without wasting any time, fulfill all the guidelines and rules and start a neighborhood immediately.
Lawful Armed Neighborhood Defense Plans
The lawful neighborhood defense plans are made after taking the permission of the local authorities and the crime prevention office. It is recommended that you start a watch in your society after proper training and guidance.
The police department will help you train on how to observe and report any suspicious activity. You will know how to keep an eye on other houses to see if there is anything unusual. To make the watch lawful, consider and follow all the guidelines.
If you have fencing, it is recommended that you keep it a bit low so that the neighbors can and see and observe what is happening in your house. You can plant a hostile tree inside the fencing, so no one tries to get inside the house.
Unlawful Armed Neighborhood Watch
As the names suggest, the unlawful armed neighborhood means that the people involved have not asked for permission from the local authorities or carry illegal weapons. You need to take permission for both the watch group and the weapons before starting it.
If you are starting an unlawful armed neighborhood watch, I would suggest not because it can cause problems if anyone finds out. The local authorities do not tolerate any illegal activities happening in their territory, so make sure to take permission before doing any illegal activity.
Armed Neighborhood Signs
The armed neighborhood signs are designed by the people of that specific community. They indicate the parking areas, the boundaries, and the park. The signs are placed for ease in understanding the area or place the people are in. There are vital things that you should keep in mind while creating different types of signs which are:
- For defining boundaries, entrance points, parking areas, and parks, a sign of 24×32 is used so that it is readable up to 75-80 feet. The logo is visible up to 170 to 200 feet.
- For the neighborhood streets and business district, a sign of 18×24 is recommended that is readable up to 40-50 feet, and the logo is visible up to 125-150 feet.
- For gates, garages, fence posts, a sign of 12×12 is recommended.
- For entrance to a home and close-up visibility, a sign of 5×5 is recommended.
Roles and Responsibilities of Coordinator
Every neighborhood watch has a coordinator that leads the teams and communicates effectively with everyone to make the watch successful. But being a Coordinator is not straightforward. There are a few roles and responsibilities you should know before becoming a coordinator.
The roles of a coordinator include:
- Problem Solver
The responsibilities of a watch coordinator are as follows:
- Serves as the leader of the neighborhood watch and encourages the community to participate in the watch.
- Coordinate and create plans, and provide information about all the activities to the Crime Officer.
- Acts as the communicator between the crime prevention officer and a specific police officer.
- It helps the neighbors in accessing the help prevention resources.
- Works and coordinates the community issues, meetings, problem-solving efforts, and gatherings.
- Recruit people that can attend the additional training to keep the community safe from all crimes.
- Finds someone who can replace him when he is no longer available to be the Neighborhood Watch Coordinator.
Benefits of Neighborhood Watch
The benefits of Neighborhood watch are as follows:
- Significantly decreases the criminal and illegal activities in a particular area.
- It creates a sense of safety among the people and reduces the fear of crime.
- It really helps in creating a strong bond among the neighbors that also enhances neighborhood awareness.
- Diminishes the risk of becoming a victim and reduces the physical and psychological costs of crime.
- Teach the residents how to notice any suspicious activity and report them at the appropriate time.
- Residents learn to collaborate with other people and address all the issues of life and mutual interest.
Can I start a neighborhood watch with ten people?
Yes, if you have a small community, you can start a crime watch with only ten people. Make sure those people are active, attentive, and trustworthy.
Are watch signs necessary?
The neighborhood watch signs are not compulsory, but they play a significant role in keeping the criminals away from the precinct as they know they are being watched.
Can there be two Watch coordinators?
Usually, a single watch coordinator is preferred in most situations. But you can also choose two watch coordinators. But the second one will only operate when the first one is not available at the moment.
Can I keep a weapon while keeping a crime watch?
In most cases, the weapons are not allowed to be used by the members. But if there’s a specific need, the members can have the permit to carry a weapon or gun along with them while keeping a watch.
The neighborhood watch can be a great option to keep all the residents of an area safe. It also emerges a sense of responsibility. All the residents will feel safe, and you will be helping the police maintain law and order inside an area. You can establish a neighborhood watch quite quickly if you can convince people to join you.
It decreases criminal activity in the area and enhances security. So if you think that there is a potential risk of illegal activity in your area, make sure to create an armed neighborhood watch but don’t break the laws in the process.
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