It takes more than just one person to keep a Neighborhood Watch active and successful.
Once a Neighborhood Watch group is established in your area, members are encouraged to watch out for one another, target harden their homes, and hold regular meetings or neighborhood events at least once or twice a year. This way everyone can keep up-to-date on current crime trends and continue to build a sense of community.
Here are some commonly held beliefs, the reality behind those beliefs, and how Neighborhood Watch can help you and your neighbors… “Crime’s not a problem in our neighborhood.” This may or may not be true; however, because there is usually a lack of communication among neighbors most people don’t know what is actually occurring in their own community.
Neighborhood Watch encourages neighbors to talk to each other. At Neighborhood Watch meetings, your beat officer can provide group members with local crime statistics. “If someone really wants to break in, they will.” This probably true; however, most burglars will choose the easiest target, such as a house with an unlocked door or open window. The beat officer can provide tips on learn how to target harden your homes.
“What if I call the Police Dept. and nothing’s wrong?” So you may be a little embarrassed; however, what if your instincts were right? You could have prevented a burglary or something much more severe from occurring. Neighborhood Watch teaches group members how to identify and report suspicious persons, vehicles, activity, and crime. You can call the non-emergency police phone number to report a suspicious activity or concern. For emergencies Call 911.
Now that your Neighborhood Watch network is established, be sure that everyone understands and observed the following guidelines:
- Be alert to unusual or suspicious behavior in your neighborhood. Call the police if warranted. Write down descriptions of the person(s) involved and license numbers of any vehicles involved.
- Tell a trusted neighbor if your house will be unoccupied for an extended period. Tell him or her how to reach you in an emergency. You can also call the police department and request a vacation check of your residence while you are away.
- Look after your neighbors’ homes when they are away, and ask them to look after yours. This includes picking up the mail or newspapers and putting back the garbage cans or recycling bins. Don’t leave signals that say, “no one is home.”
- Hold a Neighborhood Watch block meetings at least once a year. Contact the Police and request that your beat officer attend. They can inform you about local crime trends and what you can do about them.
- Above all, get involved. It is the most effective way to reduce or prevent crime and make your neighborhood safe.
- Ask your law enforcement agency for help with “home security surveys” for individual residences.
- Invite an officer to speak to your Neighborhood Watch group about home security.
- Learn how to secure your homes with effective door and window locks, adequate exterior lighting, and security habits.
Have knowledge of Police Department Procedures.
Schedule periodic meetings and solicit members to attend meetings.
Invite officer’s to your meetings to talk about crime trends or give training on certain security topics.
Monitor crime trends in your neighborhood.
Inform your Crime Prevention Officer if your information changes.
Inform neighbors your responsibility as a block watch captain.
Inform members of their responsibilities.
Keep a current record of the members in your program and give a copy to the Crime Prevention Unit of the police department.
Report all criminal and suspicious activity and have members do the same.
Use your position in any way to receive special consideration from any city entity or employee.
Act in a capacity of a police officer in any way.
Attempt to handle a situation in any way which may be hazardous to you or others.