We are shedding some light on neighborhood watch programs and their effectiveness, and how to start a successful neighborhood watch in the US, the UK, Canada, South Africa, etc.
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 is at risk.
If you want your home to provide you with the protection that you desire and deserve, it is paramount to make sure that your neighborhood is a safe place. You could purchase the best security system for your home, but you can’t purchase one for your entire neighborhood.
For that reason, creating a neighborhood watch program in place can help to not only ensure your protection, but also ensure the protection of everyone who surrounds you. The neighborhood watch program is pretty necessary for people who live in a bad neighborhood to stay safe.
What Is a Neighborhood Watch Program?
Other names of neighborhood watch, according to the National Crime Prevention Council, are “block watch, town watch, apartment watch, crime watch”. The neighborhood/community watch, one of the most trustworthy and effective ways of preventing crime in a neighborhood, is a crime watch and prevention program that has been in place since 1972.
Neighborhood crime watch unites those who live in a neighborhood with law enforcement officials in an effort to deter criminal activity, thus improving the safety of communities and the people who live in them. This program involves relying on the participation of those who live in your neighborhood to monitor the area on a ‘round-the-clock basis. Should any questionable activity be observed, the person or persons who observed it contact local law enforcement officials, who then intervene.
Steps on 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.
Are Neighborhood Watch Programs Effective?
Does neighborhood watch reduce crime? The effectiveness of neighborhood crime watch programs is often doubted.
According to neighborhood watch program statistics, the national burglary rate decreased about 30%. And there have been so many successful neighborhood watch programs, indicating the benefits of forming community watch:
Morada Neighborhood Watch helped drop the crime rate in this area to the lowest since 2001.
A member from Rotterdam Neighborhood Crime Watch helped the local police to arrest the purse thief in 2015.
Benefits (advantages) associated with these neighborhood watch success stories include: reduced crime, greater sense of self-safety and security, stronger sense of the community unity, and improved quality of life.
More Tips about 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.
- 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.