Community Neighborhood Watch


Neighborhood watch is when neighborhood people comes together as one unit to help make their community a safer place to live. The unit is constructed as an organized team that will have meeting to come up with ideas together for the safety of the neighborhood.

We are shedding some light on Community neighborhood watch programs and their effectiveness, and how to start a successful neighborhood watch.

Your home is your castle, protecting you and keeping you from harm. Your neighborhood is like the moat that surrounds your castle. Just like if there are dangers in or around the moat that surrounds a real castle, if there are dangers lurking in your neighborhood, the safety of you and your loved ones are at risk. For that reason, creating a Community Neighborhood watch

program in place can help to not only ensure your protection but also ensure the protection of everyone who surrounds you.

 What is a neighborhood watch program?

A neighborhood watch program is one of the best ways to ensure that a living community is safe from criminal activities and other issues. The primary objective of this program is to educate a neighborhood regarding safety and security measures.

It even focuses more on implementing ways and techniques for strengthening safety in a neighborhood to lower the crimes at bay. In other words, it involves bringing citizens together with law enforcement departments to initiate necessary steps to deter crime rates. 

Another thing about a neighborhood program is that it gives ways to create awareness among residents to eliminate crimes with high success rates. It enables a living community to monitor and report the movements of suspicious people properly. The law enforcement officers will work closely with living communities to observe people who indulge in crimes, vandalism, and other illegal activities.

Apart from that, they provide methods to learn more about the problems prevailing in the neighborhood in advance to take immediate actions accordingly. A neighborhood watch program contributes more to promote harmony and trust among residents enabling them to lead a problem less life. 

The major components of a community watch program include community meetings, community patrol, communication, special events, and other aspects related to safety measures. It provides ways to get alerts and helping neighbors to ensure high protection from potential threats.

With a community watch program, it is possible to prevent crime rates with high success rates. There are various things involved in a community program and one should get more about them in detail for meeting essential needs.

Starting a Neighborhood Watch Program

“Is there a neighborhood watch in my area?” Join in neighborhood watch immediately if you live in a neighborhood watch area.

If you live in a community that does not have a neighborhood watch program, starting one is a lot easier than you may think. The first step is taking the reins and putting the effort forth to get the program started. Here are some things that you can do to get a neighborhood watch program started in your community.

Step 1: Contact law enforcement. Local law enforcement officials are one of the staples of an effective neighborhood watch program. Make sure to contact them prior to spreading the word about your program, so that you can ensure that they are on-board and prepared to work with you and your community.

Step 2: Organize a launch meeting. Once you have decided that you want to start up a neighborhood watch program, the first thing you should do is hold a launch meeting. Schedule the meeting on a date and time that would be convenient for the majority of the members of your community; weekends are ideal, as most people do not work on weekends.

Do note that you can hold two launch meetings, which can be held on separate dates and at different times; on a Saturday afternoon and on a Tuesday evening, for example, to ensure that all members of your community can attend.

Set up strict neighborhood watch guidelines. Make sure to invite your local law enforcement officials to the launch meeting(s), as their presence will reassure those who are interested in participating. Hold the meeting(s) in a place that is comfortable and can accommodate all; a community recreation center, your local library or even your home.

Step 3: Spread the word. Once you have contacted law enforcement officials and organized your launch meeting, let your community know about it. The easiest way to do this is by making flyers and distributing them in the mailboxes in your community, placing them on doorsteps, or putting them on cars. You can even go door-to-door and personally invite your neighbors to the meeting and distribute flyers.

Step 4: Be prepared. Make sure that you are fully prepared to answer any and all questions that your community members may have in regard to the program. If you don’t have an answer at the time a question is asked, make sure that you find out the answer and get back to the person who asked the question.

Step 5: Be a leader. The most effective way to start  and keep a neighborhood watch program going is leading by example. If you are the person who enacts the program, you want to make sure that you set a good example for the rest of the members in your national neighborhood watch Institute to follow.

More thing you need when starting a Neighborhood Watch

 

1. Get to know your neighbors
“Knowing the people that live next door and down the block from you can help stave away unwanted activity,”  who suggests people get outdoors and walk through their neighborhood. “Be friendly and greet others who are engaged in yard work, have small kids, or are out walking just like you. Knowing people by sight will help increase the feeling of safety in your neighborhood.”

Welcoming new neighbors and attending block parties is also a good start towards building a solid community, he adds.

2. Build a neighborhood list
“We hold a party twice a year where we have an opt-in neighborhood list with email addresses and phone numbers,” says Andy of Woodland Hills, CA. “There are about 70 families, and people can post things like lost dogs,  neighborhood watch summaries, and road resurfacing details.”

Having an email chain is a great way to spread the word, especially with so many people attached to their smartphones all day and night.

3. Create a Facebook page
Once you create your official neighborhood watch Facebook page, it’s time to get the word out.

“Canvass your neighborhood door to door, and invite everyone to follow the page to stay up to date on meetings and events,”. A simple postcard or flyer will help let everyone know your intentions for the program.

“Choose a social media–savvy neighbor to serve as the Facebook page moderator and ask residents to post any incidences (such as a home or car break-ins),” he says.

Make the group private so personal information doesn’t get out to the masses and it feels like a neighborhood safe space.

4. Be on the lookout for out-of-the-ordinary occurrences
Put the “watch” part of “neighborhood watch” into practice every day by knowing who your neighbors are; this will make it easier to spot suspicious activity.

“Members of a community are in the best position to notice variances in the environment,” says psychologist Thomas Boyce, founder of the Center for Behavioral Safety in San Carlos, CA. “That is, neighbors typically know neighbors, and things that look out of place can be addressed before they become problems.”

5. Hold regular neighborhood watch meetings
Getting all of your neighbors together can be tricky due to scheduling, but it’s also one of the best ways to keep communication open.

“Plan meetings well in advance (e.g., monthly or quarterly) at a neighbor’s home or the local library, and offer a babysitter—it will boost attendance”. “These gatherings will help residents get to know each other, allowing you to plan strategies, and keep everyone in the loop.”

6. Establish ‘Safe Homes
Designate a handful of safe homes that children playing or walking home in your neighborhood can come to in case of an emergency.

It is ideal if the safe house belongs to someone who is retired or works from home. Make stickers for the front door or window, and make sure the kids in your neighborhood know which homes are safe zones.

7. Limit door-to-door solicitation
Discourage door-to-door salespeople and other strangers from soliciting in your neighborhood. Notes that many burglars will use this method to case properties. This could be a good topic to bring up at a neighborhood meeting. Ask residents to put a small sign on their door that says “No Solicitation” to make it crystal-clear.

8. Distribute a safety reminder sheet
People get busy and sometimes forget basic home safety practices. Consider creating and distributing a flyer or pamphlet with reminders like turning on exterior lights at night (a well-lit neighborhood makes crime less likely) and locking cars that are parked on the street.

Members Position Description

The Neighborhood Watch Team is a volunteer group assembled for the sole purpose of “Watching” for safety concerns, “Watching” for illegal activity, and/or assisting in Emergencies as directed by authorities. 

If issues are observed or presented, they are “reported” to the proper authorities (Sheriff, Local Government, HOA, etc.) any one of which could choose to investigate and could choose to take the appropriate action.”

1) Develop “observation skills” to:
i. Be aware of the locations, times, day of the week
ii. Recognize what a person looks like and have a good idea of their height, weight, ethnicity, gender, tattoos, scars etc.; also, how many people
iii. Record specific Items: What is important/significant about your concern(s)
iv. Take time to notice any recurring patterns or routines, and record how often it occurred, who was involved, etc.
v. Identify vehicles involved, was it an SUV, truck, car; what was the color, make, model etc.; try to get the license plate number(s) and the state on the plate (even a partial can be helpful)

2) Use observation skills to “watch” for “suspicious activities”
i. A stranger loitering or a vehicle cruising the neighborhood
ii. Someone peering into cars or windows
iii. A high volume of traffic going to and from a home on a daily basis; or coming and going at unusual hours
iv. Strange odors coming from a house, building, or vehicle
v. Open, broken, doors and/or windows
vi. Someone tampering with electrical, gas, or sewer systems without clear identification
vii. Signs of forced entry, or tampering with security systems or safety systems

3) Summary
i. Watch for unusual people and vehicles
ii. Watch for Illegal activities
iii. Watch for unusual events or incidents, or dangerous situations
iv. If it doesn’t put you in harm’s way, take pictures and/or record situations

4) The only action a Neighborhood Watch representative should take on observations or situations are as follows:
i. If you have reason to be concerned, call your local law enforcement.
Tell call taker to your concern(s.) If suspects are on the scene alert the call taker to use police cellphones because many suspects have police monitors
i. If there is a medical emergency, motor vehicle accident, fire, or life is in danger – dial 911 immediately

When you make a call be prepared as follows:
a. Tell the call taker what happened and the exact location
b. Provide a detailed description of the individuals and/or vehicles
c. Remain on the phone and stay calm
d. Be prepared to answer follow-up questions

NOTE: All other action is to be taken by trained Law Enforcement personnel ONLY

1) Take care that TNW posts do not insinuate members of the group agree or disagree.
 
2) Keep names of TNW members confidential

3) “Watch” and “Report” potential crime and/or safety concerns in accordance with our Position Description. 
When you present yourself as a TNW member, be willing to provide formal identification (driver’s license, etc.) and report the situation to me for our records.  Call or email me anytime you have questions or concerns.

4) You are not asked to spend time at meetings, events, etc., but I attend most monthly TAC/TNW meetings.  You’re always welcome.  You can participate as much or as little as you wish, and still be considered a member in good standing.

Block Captain Position Description

1) Establish a phone/email chain for quick contact to your team

2) Work with team members to develop “observation skills” and train them to:
i. Be aware of the locations, times, day of the week
ii. Recognize what a person looks like and have a good idea of their height, weight, ethnicity,
gender, tattoos, scars etc.; also, how many people
iii. Record specific Items: What is important/significant about your concern(s)
iv. Take time to notice any recurring patterns or routines, and record how often it
occurred, who was involved, etc.
v. Identify vehicles involved, was it an SUV, truck, car; what was the color, make, model etc.; try to
get the license plate number(s) and the state on the plate (even a partial can be helpful)

3) Point out the need to use observation skills to “watch” for “suspicious activities”
i. A stranger loitering or a vehicle cruising the neighborhood
ii. Someone peering into cars or windows
iii. A high volume of traffic going to and from a home on a daily basis; or coming and going at unusual hours
iv. Strange odors coming from a house, building, or vehicle
v. Open, broken, doors and/or windows
vi. Someone tampering with electrical, gas, or sewer systems without clear identification
vii. Signs of forced entry, or tampering with security systems or safety systems

4) Summary all members need to know and be ready to report
i. Watch for unusual people and vehicles
ii. Watch for Illegal activities
iii. Watch for unusual events, incidents, or dangerous situations
iv. If it doesn’t put you in harm’s way, take pictures and/or record situations

5) Make certain all members know that the only action a Neighborhood Watch representative should take on observations or situations are as follows:
i. If you have reason to be concerned, call your local law enforcement.
Tell call taker to your concern(s.) If suspects are on the scene alert the call taker to use police cellphones because many suspects have police monitors.
i. If there is a medical emergency, motor vehicle accident, fire, or life is in danger – dial 911 immediately

When you make a call be prepared as follows:
a. Tell the call taker what happened and the exact location
b. Provide a detailed description of the individuals and/or vehicles
c. Remain on the phone and stay calm
d. Be prepared to answer follow-up questions

NOTE: All other action is to be taken by trained Law Enforcement personnel ONLY

Mobile neighborhood watch patrol

Neighborhood watch is an essential thing in the current world. Nowadays for survival in this fast era, men and women work shoulder to shoulder. So, you need someone to look after your house as coordination. There is a possibility that you hire someone to do it for you.

But there is another program that is possible and depends upon the coordination of the neighbors. Neighborhood watch patrol is an important watch program to coordinate and secure your house. Through this program, crimes can be restricted.

Mobile neighborhood watch patrol is an advanced form of the neighborhood watch patrol. It not only creates peace and harmony among the people in a particular society, but it reduces the crime rate as well.

It can be operated through an internet connection with a mobile application. It reduces the crime rate as well as give you social benefits, which is a good and positive thing for society.

Mobile neighborhood watch patrol is an important part of watch patrol. The basic purpose of the mobile neighborhood watch patrol is to coordinate with law enforcement agencies to reduce crimes.

Mobile neighborhood watch patrol provides you the best watch patrol to be utilized in your neighborhood. Because you can operate the security within your community by coordinating to neighbors and law enforcement agencies.

Coordination between neighbors in the community:
Mobile neighborhood watch patrol is the best example of mobilizing the community to perform productive things. As we have seen that men and women both work to meet the requirements of today’s world. To secure your house and keep in touch with your community.

It is very important that through the latest technology, mobile apps and mutual understanding, you can reduce the crime rate in your surroundings. Also, the law enforcement agencies are the party in this community program, which provides authenticity to it.

Modern technology in mobile application/camera installation:
One of the best things regarding mobile neighborhood watch patrol is the equipment utilized during the process.  Mobile neighborhood watch patrol allows you to use modern technology and cameras through your mobile applications.

The cameras of the latest technology are installed in a way that they show the face and surroundings of the house. These cameras are then monitored through specific mobile applications. You can check these cameras at any time at any stage with the availability of the internet. You can share any suspicious activity with law enforcement agencies at any stage.

Latest equipment’s with an alarm system to reduce Dacoity:
One of the best things that a mobile neighborhood watch patrol provides you is the alarm system. Which rings and get you notified of any suspicious activity. This is one of the best technology applications which has changed and advanced the neighborhood watch patrol.

If there is any suspicious activity, it will notify and warn you for some time. If not, necessary steps are taken to make sure there is no issue. But when the proper step is not taken to counter the things, then alarm rings and the surroundings are informed about the activity.

Financial and social benefits:
It is very important that people must coordinate within the community. Because to live in a prosperous society. It is really important to ensure the availability of peace among the people. So mobile neighborhood watch patrol provides an opportunity for a group of people in a particular society. It has not only social benefits but financial as well.

Social benefits include coordination, peace, harmony, and love among the people of a specific society. These sentiments are very important for the sustainability of peace.

What actual Neighborhood Watch programs are saying

Messages send to Community Watch Paper about Neighborhood Watch:

I tried several years ago to get one started in the Lynwood Hills area of Bonita. There was wonderful support from our sheriff, Julio Garcia. But despite having walked door-to-door with flyers and email reminders prior to the meeting, less than 30% of the homes were represented.  It never really got off the ground because it was so difficult to get enough responses afterwards and as time went on. 

After the housing crisis, many homes in our area were sold to younger people and/or converted to rentals with multiple families. It is hard to know who our neighbors are anymore. Despite many efforts, I have found that most people are just not interested in taking time to get involved (until, of course, a crisis–then they ask, “Why didn’t somebody do something to avoid this?”)  They prefer to let “someone else” handle it. 

I am not speaking for everyone; there are some who have been willing–but they are gradually relocating. So, I am just speaking in a general sense of what my experience has been. I do believe there was a Neighborhood Watch program when I moved here in 1980–but that was when just about every home was owner occupied and everyone knew who their neighbors were.

Good luck with the program and thank you for your efforts!
Best regards,
Valerie
________________________________________

 Normally without the COVID restrictions, someone would generally contact me either by phone or email requesting to start a Neighborhood Watch Group in their Neighborhood. We would agree on a date to hold the meeting.

The meeting is usually held in their neighborhood, it could be at someone’s house, in their backyard, in their driveway, wherever they feel comfortable gathering their neighbors together, making it easy for each of the neighbors. Once a date and time is agreed upon, I create flyers and send them to the coordinator to pass out to their neighbors announcing the meeting and honestly that is really all they must do. 

The night of the meeting myself and an Area Commander and sometimes a patrol officer will attend the meeting.  We will discuss what Neighborhood Watch is, allow everyone to introduce themselves, and then we will go over an informational packet we give out that night and we discuss the recent calls for service for the area.

Towards the end of the meeting, we open it up for a discussion of questions and concerns of the neighborhood. We also discuss the placement of the Neighborhood Watch signs. Each new group is given two Neighborhood Watch street signs that we will install for them wherever they agree would be the best place for them.

We encourage everyone to keep in contact with their neighbors especially if there is something suspicious going on and encourage everyone when they see something suspicious to call our dispatch.

 I hope that answers your question
Amber
________________________________________

Our neighborhood consists of 1 straight street and 3 cul de sacs.  We have a watch representative in each area.  Residents can call these persons with questions or comments.  The representative will then take any action necessary and call the non-emergency police number to report any issues.  If a resident sees an actual crime, they have been told to call 911.

It took a while to get the signs put up, I recommend that you select the locations in advance, so they go where you want them.

The city and police dept. worked well with us, no problems setting it up.

Bill Blackwood
________________________________________

 Thank you, John Young, for supporting Neighborhood Watch (NW)!  We have had a great start and ongoing NW program. 

Keeping it simple, having feet on the ground (retired walkers and dog walkers), welcoming new neighbors and keeping track of people who have left the neighborhood, minding your own business while still staying in touch, setting up boundaries or guidelines/rules that should be adhered for members in the group, being adaptable, assessable, and encouraging members to be involved, are all things that has been helpful in maintaining a working NW.

I am a highly organized and detailed person and work with another neighbor, and we work as a team (she is the feet on the ground more than me) and all members have access to both of us and other group members via our up-to-date group roster.  Below is a list of things in our “system” that help our NW program.  Please let me know if you would like more information, or samples of any of the information listed below.

Thank you!

System in place for our NW group:  (McDonald Parvenu group, ~32 houses)

– initial small info packet invite members (hand delivered to houses)

– initially members paid $5 to join so we could get 2 additional signs for our neighborhood

– active roster that goes only to members & kept private for our group members

– welcome letters emailed out w/ brief description of the group, how it works, no solicitation, keep #s private, etc.

– updates / new rosters emailed

– window stickers available to members

Occasionally, very seldom, emails sent out if input is needed or someone volunteers to host a get together. We’ve met at houses about 5 times at 4 different houses and once on the street corner w/ chairs. 

On our roster, I have a Sheriff # so please provide me the contact information you’d like me to include on the roster I send out to our members.

Have a great day!
Colleen
________________________________________

Problems in startup 

There were no problems in startup. 

The Sheriff provided the leadership and publicity in which he received a great response.

Initially we had about 65 members.

Good things achieved by Neighborhood watch 

  1. Met many community members of both races.
  2. Sheriff provided seminars on many topics of interest.
  3. Drugs and gangs
  4. Scams
  5. General criminal activity
  6.  Good methods of safety and protection.
  7.  Sheriff kept us abreast of crime in the area.

Problems with organization

  1. Maintaining membership–Current membership is 10 members
  2. Some members passed away
  3. Some members sick
  4. Some members lost interest
  5. Need a way to encourage membership.

It is fine to mention West Fulton Road Neighborhood Watch.

Sincerely,
Lee
________________________________________

To address any problems, the first problem we had was finding a common place to have meetings. We have been fortunate in obtaining a fellowship hall at a local church to hold all our meetings.

They know that the Fayette County Sheriff or his representative always attend our meetings and are happy to let us meet there. The other biggest problem was having Crime Watch literature available. I have downloaded several information sheets as well as ordered material and stickers online, which people love to get.

I always announce at the end of the meeting, if anyone has any questions feel free to see me after the meeting, or they can privately message me on Nextdoor.com or Facebook. I also have business cards made up that I hand out if anyone wants my contact information. We also have a 30″x48″ map of the county showing what areas we are trying to reach and cover.

We have had anywhere from about 10-15 people to 45-50 with standing room only at our meetings. I always have a table in the back of the room full of free literature and Crime Watch stickers for whoever wants them, as well as a suggestion box for future meetings or whatever, all this had proven to be incredibly positive and useful.

One of the most important tools we use is to keep the County Mayor informed of our activities as well as working close with the County Sheriff and his staff. We have been told that the Our Crime Watch is working, and we are constantly getting positive feedback from the Mayor, Sheriff, and many local citizens.

We post our meetings in the local county newspaper, utilize http://www.nextdoor.com, which is free and easy to join, we have our own Facebook page, and post in several local Facebook pages to spread the word or announce our meetings. Using these methods, we can reach several thousand people. We also from time-to-time post Crime Watch Newsletters.

We also have located some unused buildings in the county and are looking into being able to access one so we have a more central location to meet, have a mailing address, phone number, etc. We are currently meeting in the southwest area of the county off of Raleigh Lagrange Drive, and we have people from all corners of the county as well as from the neighboring counties attend our meetings.

Respectfully,
D. Clement
_______________________________________________________________________

I am Founder/President of the Eastport/5 Points Neighborhood Watch.  This is a public housing community, and I was told it would never work, but it has worked for 7 years, now.  We were honored for being “Crime Free” in the years of 2018 and 2019. 

It has been a success, because I make sure everyone has a job to do, plus at each meeting we have treats, a Neighbor of the month award, every January we give the Fire & Police a Chili Dinner award event. 

I am proud of it, and the members are all happy, ready, and willing to do what it takes to have a safe neighborhood.  I try to keep things enjoyable, and everyone busy.  It seems to work. These are only a few of the things we do, but I tried to cut it short. 

Founder/President
S. Cook
________________________________________

I live in Sterling Place and we have had a great Neighborhood Watch program since the beginning.   We have a great group of residents and are all relatively close.   I am the Neighborhood Watch Coordinator, and we have a long list of Block Captains even though we only have 120 homes.  

I put together packets for new residents that move in and the Block Captains deliver them.  We have an Important Information Sheet with their information, i.e., phone, E-mail, emergency contacts, etc.  

The Block Captain keeps a copy of their group, and I have a large book of all of them, and they have been especially useful in emergency situations.  These sheets are to be kept in strict confidentiality.   I registered us with the National Neighborhood Watch years ago.  

I also send out information to the neighborhood to keep them informed about various things and it keeps us close.   They seem to enjoy them.  Have not had any problems setting up, fortunately and have had only 2 people want their names removed in about 14 years.

I hope this helps & it is okay to mention our group with CWP

Phyllis Huls
________________________________________

There is only one problem with neighborhood watch….

The cost to get materials. My experience is that no one wants to pay for the cost of having a regular meeting.

I have been doing ours quarterly for two years now and the ONLY reason we have a meeting is because I pay for it.

Unfortunately, I find people’s interests there until it comes down to them actually doing something.

Out of 200+ invites, we usually end up with somewhere in the 10-15% range of people who show up.

Mike T
________________________________________

Greetings CWP,

When we started the watch here, I hooked up with the local sheriffs’ department, the national neighborhood watch and the NSA (national sheriffs’ association). The latter two organizations have all the materials anyone would need to start a watch program as well as training for said, all available on their respective websites.

The former, local sheriffs’, have, at least in our area, a pop officer (problem-oriented policing) that coordinates with community members, neighborhood watch programs etc. and hold monthly or quarterly meetings to interface between citizens/watch program directors and the local constabulary. These assets were more than enough to fully start and bring into operation our neighborhood watch program.

The main problem we, and from what I understand most watch programs have, is lack of participation. Many people don’t want or are simply not interested in a watch program. In our instance, the neighborhood is a senior citizen community, and most were convinced that they would have to physically go out on to the streets and confront people, a completely incorrect assumption.

Watch programs are exactly that, programs where neighbors band together, watch for crimes or other area problems and simply report them to the program directors who report to authorities as necessary, or in case of an emergency type crime, call the local constabulary directly. 

Those are the main good and bad parts we have experienced here, starting and maintaining a watch program.

Sincerely,
M. Regan
______________________________________________________________________________

Hi CWP,

I was a member of our community watch program in California before moving up here at the end of 2017. I was also part of the Livermore, CA, citizens volunteer program with Livermore PD. 

When I came to Boise, I immediately signed up for the Boise PD citizens volunteer program and was accepted about 1 year ago. I work at City Hall during the evening council/committee meetings (before COVID-19). Just waiting to start again.

I also signed up our neighborhood to the community watch and went door-to-door to gather interest from the neighbors. I spoke to most everyone, and most were not that concerned about the local crime.

During the National Night Out events, I have been traveling for work every year, so I have not been able to organize an event for us to get everyone interested. This year the work event is going to be at a different time, so I expect I could work on our neighborhood event. We were the host at the last two years in Livermore, before we left.

I work full time for Micron with lots of other activities keeping me busy, but I am interested in getting us going with this.

I may not be the best to help others get started since I am still at ground zero, but I can see what I can do. You are welcome to mention our neighborhood watch, but you might want to also note we are just getting started. 

Thanks
K. Smith
________________________________________

Are Neighborhood Watch Programs Effective?

If you’re looking for a simple answer, the answer is “Yes”. Neighborhood watch programs indeed help in reducing the crime rate in an area.
The effectiveness of neighborhood crime watch programs is often doubted.

According to neighborhood watch program statistics, the national burglary rate decreased by about 30%. And there have been so many successful neighborhood watch programs, indicating the benefits of forming community watch.

The Crime Prevention Research Review performed a study and concluded that every neighborhood protected by a neighborhood watch is less likely to be exposed to neighborhood crimes. The concept of community watch programs affects the psychology of potential criminals and offenders.

These potential criminals are less likely to take a step forward towards a crime when they are being watched by a neighborhood watch. Of course, not all potential criminals are being watched by the community watch all the time, but these programs still put a stopping impact on the minds of these criminals.

Study shows that the crime rate of an area understand the protection of a community watch is, on average, 16% lower than the areas not under the protection of a community watch. Simply put, neighborhood watch programs reduce the crime rate by 16% on average. This may not seem much statistically, but any crime reduction is a win-win for society. 

Let’s look at some US cities where the crime rate dropped down by a considerable amount in the last quarter of the 20th century, due to the neighborhood watch program.

Washington, Seattle: In 1977, when the community watch program was kind-of new and was on the rise, Seattle, Washington obtained a whooping 57% crime reduction. The affected crimes were mostly burglaries. This crime rate reduction was reported by the citizens of the area themselves.

Washington DC, The First Police District: This massive 65% crime rate reduction was reported by the local police in 1984. This percentage was derived from the police data related to neighborhood crimes. Just like in Seattle, burglaries were the most affected crime type.

California, Fontana: In 1979, the police reported an incredible 36% reduction in burglaries in Fontana, California. 

Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach: This reduction in neighborhood crimes was reported in 1983. The report was driven out of the local police data. This report displayed an impressive 41% reduction in burglaries in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles. 

Chicago, Northwest: The locals of the area self-reported a decrement in the neighborhood crimes of this area. This crime rate decrements equaled to around 10%. It doesn’t seem like much, but it indeed is. The affected crimes were mostly related to victimization.

Problems with neighborhood watch program?

National Sheriff’s Association is the official sponsor of the neighborhood watch program which trains and supports living communities. It will organize a program in a location with the support of volunteers thereby showing ways to prevent crimes and other problems. Another thing is that it will conduct meetings in a neighborhood regularly in order to get feedback from a living community.  

Although neighborhood watch programs provide several advantages to people, they have some disadvantages too and everyone should know more about them in detail.

Community policing:
Community policing plays an important role in police- living community relations and problem-solving. The police department develops a program to improve relations with local people to curb the crime rates efficiently. On the other hand, the main problem in community policing is community involvement. Without the support of community involvement, it is really a difficult one to make a program a successful one.

Since an effective community policing requires a long-term commitment, everyone should be involved in a program to reduce crime rates significantly. It takes more time to establish and build relations with people in a neighborhood that can lead to various problems while implementing a program.

Another disadvantage in community policing is the appointment of the right people in a project because it is not an easy process. There are some coordinators who misuse a program for their personal career or agenda. Therefore, it is advisable to recruit coordinators based on experience and other factors. A neighborhood watch program requires support from everyone and not from particular people and homeowners.  

Some citizens in a neighborhood won’t get involved in crime prevention after implementing the community policies. This is due to fear of appraisal and apathy that makes the program an unsuccessful one. Those who don’t have faith in the judiciary system are less likely to become involved in a program. In most cases, citizens prefer to keep themselves and avoid filing a complaint to the concerned authorities in order to remain invisible within a living community.

Not understanding the laws and responsibilities:
Most people don’t understand and follow the laws after implementing a program. In fact, they are not aware of their responsibilities properly which leads to various problems. People who have a bitter experience with law enforcement officers may create negative opinions in the living community which makes a neighborhood program an unsuccessful one. Furthermore, they don’t support law enforcement departments when it comes to security measures. 

Another thing is that most residents don’t understand the duties and responsibilities of law officers after implementing a program. Some law enforcement officers say that some people lack faith in the judicial system due to lenient sentencing and policies. Criminals exploit lenient policing by indulging in criminal acts which challenge the authority of police officers.

Lack of communication:
Communication plays an important role in a community watch program that helps to reach people easily. Lack of communication is another important thing that causes various problems in a program. This is because most programs don’t define the goals, objectives, and other things properly while implementing them.  

Some residents face difficulties in understanding more about a program in detail which results in communication problems. Having a community program that lacks communication will result in various issues. 

Not following any set of rules and regulations:
A recent study says that many community programs are self-made that are not registered to   a council which approves them. That means they don’t follow any set of rules and regulations correctly that ultimately leads to several issues. Things may get out of hand when they are not followed in a neighborhood. Apart from that, they will result in unwanted problems while controlling a situation. 

Varied ideas and opinions:
Sometimes, people who live in a neighborhood may have different ideas and opinions when it comes to security measures. This is because they feel that law enforcement departments will interfere in their personal life which affects their privacy levels to a large extent.

A community watch program may become an unsuccessful one when they when citizens don’t have a common opinion. Besides that, it becomes a difficult process to implement a new plan in a neighborhood when it comes to security measures. Varied ideas and opinions may make a program a weaker one while taking new decisions.

Struggle of power:
There is no guarantee that not all citizens follow the rules after implementing a program in a neighborhood. In fact, some people will participate in a program for wrongful reasons. They will also misuse the power for personal gains and not for the improvement of a community which affects the quality of life. Not choosing the right people for a program may make a program an unsuccessful one. 

Volunteers:
Volunteers take various responsibilities while implementing a community. However, the difference in opinions between volunteers may divide the neighborhood that makes the environment unpleasant. Besides that, it may make certain situations worse causing law and order problems. A majority of volunteers don’t know what to do in a community program that can result in several complications. 

Using social media networks wrongly:
Social media networks contribute more to deliver messages in quick turnaround time. On the other hand, many people will use them in the wrong ways to create problems in a neighborhood after launching a community program. This will result in violence, vandalism, and other issues thereby causing disturbances. Restricting the usage of social media and other internet applications can result in more advantages.

Not building a strong community:
A community watch program requires joint co-operation between the community members and law enforcement officers. At the same time, building relations may become a difficult one for police officers due to some loopholes in the law system. Building a strong community is the most crucial factor in determining the success of a community program because it can do major wonders.

Weak foundation:
A community watch program must have a strong foundation that emphasizes on the safety measures in a neighborhood. However, they are many programs which fail to do this due to poor management and other problems. Laying a strong foundation is necessary for making the community program more effective to get the desired results.

Making wrong decisions:
Wrong decisions in a community program may result in various issues causing troubles to the citizens. For example, there are some neighborhood s which are in need of security devices for monitoring the movements of suspicious persons. However, they should need permission from local authorities that many people are not aware of them. It is also applicable to all members while planning important activities in a neighborhood. 

Not discussing the problems in detail:
Both law enforcement officers and citizens should sit together to discuss the problems in detail for taking further actions. In fact, community program organizers don’t focus on the important matters in a discussion and meeting that make the program an ineffective one. This is because discussing the issues briefly will help to solve certain problems efficiently. 

Crossing the limits:
Residents in a neighborhood will cross their limits by interfering with the law system. In fact, they will often forget their limits and like taking matters on their own hands. They even don’t know the difference between what is lawful and unlawful. It is necessary to deal with crimes as per the laws and some people don’t implement them rightly. In other words, members can take laws on their own hands when it comes to crimes which violate the rules and regulations.

Not reaching a unanimous agreement:
A community watch program should get approval from members while passing some resolutions and implementing new plans related to security measures and threats. At the same time, it becomes a difficult one to reach a unanimous agreement due to the difference in opinions.

This will make a program an ineffective one which may affect a living community. It is an important one to get opinions from community members before initiating any plan in a neighborhood. Otherwise, the program doesn’t work well that can result in disadvantages.

Not training volunteers properly:
Volunteers in a community program need proper training for accomplishing goals while carrying out important tasks. This will help a lot to make sure that they follow the protocols and other things with more attention. There are some volunteers who face difficulties in knowing the things involved in a program to insufficient knowledge and other factors. Hence, appointing inexperienced volunteers in a neighborhood can result in various problems.

Not working with police authorities:
There are some citizens in a neighborhood who may refuse to work with police officials even after implementing a community program. That means they don’t report about the crimes to law enforcement authorities immediately. Apart from that, they won’t cooperate with them when it comes to investigations and other things. A community watch program is all about crime preventing and not working with the police department may increase the crime rates. 

Not focusing on moral values:
A community program should give more importance to moral values such as determination, honesty, integrity, and giving respect to each other. This will help a lot to educate people on how to differentiate between good and bad things accurately. Most programs don’t focus on them which lead to various problems. Adding moral values in a neighborhood watch program will provide opportunities for improving relations between living communities and law enforcement authorities thereby showing ways to obtain optimal results.  

To make a community program a successful one, it is advisable to follow the above things that can help to experience the desired outcomes. Also, communities can reduce the criminal activities in a neighborhood enabling them to live a peaceful life.  

More Tips Forming Successful Neighborhood Watch Programs

To help starting successful Neighborhood Watch programs, there are some things you should pay attention to:

• Make the most of neighborhood crime watch website or apps to communicate and cooperate with members in the community more conveniently.

• Try using neighborhood watch cameras in your community watch group. A neighborhood with lots of video surveillance camera installed would be less attractive to burglars.

Security Cameras and Security Systems

Your Best Security Camera or Security System Solutions; Plug and Play; 5MP/4MP Super HD; Smartphone Remote Access; Night Vision & Motion Detection (Amazon link)

Set up neighborhood watch stickers, signs, decals in your area. This will keep some intruders or thieves at bay.

While your home is your castle and it can certainly protect you from outside dangers, there is only so much that your walls, doors and roof can do. Starting an effective Neighborhood Watch program will ensure your security and the security of everyone who lives in your community.

Mapping Community Crime

Online crime mapping services have been created with the combined efforts of law enforcement data and community input in order to physically plot where crimes have taken place in our neighborhoods – with data including the time, date, type and exact location of the crime that occurred. Websites like Spot Crime and Crime Mapping make invaluable resources for millions of Americans.

You can get involved by organizing a community meeting and examining where the crime is in your community. By doing something as simple as looking for criminal hot spots, police, business owners and members of the public can increase security measures in these areas. Introducing CCTV, deterrent fencing, increased patrols and ensuring the area is well lit can make a dramatic difference – effectively eliminating crime in the area.

Criminal Conviction Rates

Many crimes go unpunished through lack of evidence – and whether they’re committed out of sight or prosecutors lack the physical evidence to build a solid case, criminals are getting off the hook. And, without the deterrent of being convicted of a crime, offenders are more likely to fearlessly engage in illegal activity – threatening our communities.

There has been a sharp increase in the use of CCTV cameras worldwide, with the UK leading the trend in recording criminal evidence. Current data estimates there is 1 CCTV camera for every 10 people, bringing the total number of cameras in the UK to 4.7 million – many of which protect communities, schools, hospitals and other public areas or buildings. However, these cameras are generally static, meaning they don’t always capture the evidence needed.

The development of body-worn camera technology is proving to be a potentially valuable asset to law enforcement in particular. These micro CCTV systems are attached to the officer’s clothes, providing full documentation of evidence from the wearer’s point of view, essentially recording everything you see.

It is clear that crime prevention is becoming more reliant on technology, and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, it will always be a combination of the human and technological elements which ultimately makes our communities a safer place.

Register a Neighborhood Watch

Community Watch Paper blogs:

Neighborhood Watch Signs

Neighborhood Crime

Community Policing

References
https://nnw.org/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neighborhood_watch
https://www.ncpc.org/resources/home-neighborhood-safety/neighborhood-watch/
https://bja.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh186/files/Publications/NSA_NW_Manual.pdf https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226861242_Does_neighborhood_watch_reduce_crime_A_systematic_review_and_meta-analysis
https://www.everbridge.com/blog/what-is-community-policing/
https://www.protectamerica.com/home-security-blog/safe-sound/effective-community-watch-programs_8098
https://www.vectorsecurity.com/blog/3-benefits-of-neighborhood-watch-programs
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.4073/csr.2008.18

 

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