Neighborhood Watch-How Working Together as a Community Can Prevent Residential Crime

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Neighborhood Watch-How Working Together as a Community Can Prevent Residential Crime

For centuries, groups of people living within the same community or tribe have worked together to fend off the dangers around them. This tradition still exists today in the form of Neighborhood Watch programs to prevent residential crime. 

The Neighborhood Watch program was started by law enforcement groups back in the 1970s as a way to motivate residents to work together to reduce crime within their communities. By the 1980s, over 10% of the U.S. population was taking part in the crime prevention program. 

Today, Neighborhood Watch programs are present among countless communities across the nation. With residents and their local law enforcement agencies working, the program has become a highly successful method for decreasing and preventing residential crime.

Some of the benefits of having a Neighborhood Watch program include the following:

  • decreased crime within residential communities
  • improved communication and relationships among neighbors and law enforcement
  • a stronger sense of community, safety, and peace of mind

One of the reasons the Neighborhood Watch program is so effective is because of the psychological effects it has on criminals. The program sends the message that people are watching, thereby increasing the risk of a would-be intruder being seen and apprehended by police. That increased risk equates into decreased opportunities for would-be intruders.

Starting a Neighborhood Watch program doesn’t take a lot of effort. All it takes is a caring person or family to communicate its benefits and encourage other members of the community to work together to prevent crime in their neighborhood.

The following are some helpful tips on how to get a Neighborhood Watch program started in your community.

Step 1: Speak with and recruit your neighbors. Protecting your neighborhood has to start with someone, so why not you? Pay a visit to your neighbors or call them on the phone to share your idea with them. Providing a written handout can help reinforce your message. So before meeting with your neighbors, type up a short summary of the benefits of a Neighborhood Watch program or print this article and share it with them. 

Other ways to get the word out include posting flyers around the community or having a letter or article posted in your community newsletter. You should also encourage interested neighbors to help spread the word. 

Step 2: Organize a meeting. After recruiting a few interested neighbors, set up a meeting to discuss the concerns you and your neighbors have when it comes to crime in your neighborhood. This is a good time to provide additional written materials to help guide the setup of your Neighborhood Watch program, such as the National Crime Prevention Council’s Neighborhood Watch Organizer’s Guide.

Step 3: Collaborate with your local law enforcement agency. A Neighborhood Watch program requires a partnership between community members and their local law enforcement officials. Many police departments have designated officials whose job is to attend community functions and educate residents on crime and crime prevention. Inviting such an officer to attend one of your neighborhood meetings is an excellent way to gain additional knowledge and ensure your Neighborhood Watch program is successful. 

Step 4: Find a reputable home security vendor and invite a representative to one of your Neighborhood Watch meetings. There are numerous security devices on the market, some of which residents don’t know about. Finding a reputable home security vendor to demonstrate some of their products is an excellent way to increase your knowledge and the knowledge of your neighbors on how to protect against burglars and other home intruders.

Before selecting a home security vendor, check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to ensure the company is in good standing. You should also find a vendor that offers discounts for group purchases. For example, if you and your neighbors decide to purchase a home security device such as an alarm system or security door brace, the vendor should be able to offer the device at a lower price because you are purchasing a larger quantity at the same time.

Step 5: Display Neighborhood Watch signs around your neighborhood. After establishing your program, obtain the necessary Neighborhood Watch signs and prominently display them around your neighborhood. Such signs can be obtained from your local law enforcement agency or purchased from a home security vendor online. Displaying these signs is very important because they serve as warnings to criminals that everyone is on the lookout for suspicious people and activities. This is the key to deterring criminals.

Work Together as a Community to Prevent Residential Crime in Your Neighborhood

A Neighborhood Watch program is an effective crime prevention program that can reduce burglaries and other crimes in your community. If your neighborhood doesn’t yet have one of these programs, follow the steps above to get your neighbors to work together to prevent residential crime and keep the bad guys out of your neighborhood.