Starting a Neighborhood Watch Program is a great way to not only reduce crime, but to also build a sense of community. These programs teach members how to defend themselves against crime, how to identify suspicious activity, and build a greater connection between law enforcement and citizens. If you’re interested in stepping up and starting your own neighborhood program, follow these easy steps.
1) Research. Visit National Neighborhood Watch (http://www.nnw.org/), a national organization that works closely with law enforcement agencies and provides resources to neighborhood watch groups. You will be able to register your neighborhood on this site and learn more about the process. Also, determine how large you want your network to be. Generally speaking, the larger the better.
2) Build up support. Canvass door-to-door, set up block captains, or advertise in your local paper to find neighbors to join your network. Once you’ve built up support, hold an informational meeting with your local police department to give greater detail into what you hope to accomplish.
3) Set up constant communication (like a monthly newsletter) and regular meetings. You’ll want to identify and discuss the biggest concerns and issues in the neighborhood and work on an agenda to combat them. Be sure to send meeting reminders and encourage attendance.
4) Get the word out. Order Neighborhood Watch signs for the community, build a website, and continue to recruit additional members of the community. As stated earlier, the bigger the better!
5) Keep it up. It’s all too easy to get lax and forget about maintaining the network, however, frequent meetings and communication is key to its success. Make sure you hold social events in addition to your regular meetings. Members want to make the community safer, but they also want to get to know their neighbors in and feel a connection to the group.
A Neighborhood Watch Program is a great initiative to bring to your community. Following these easy steps will bring your community together to lower crime–and you might make a few new friends in the process.