Neighborhood Watch starts at your house and grows from there. Your idea will resonate with others so be prepared to accept new ways of doing things by new members to advance this movement.
A great leader leads from behind. This management style mandates that the leader withdraw from center stage. By doing so, the leader empowers and inspires others to become stakeholders in the groups’ goals and, the potential for innovation is unleashed. Additionally, by allowing others the opportunity to execute, make mistakes and learn to make decisions, you are continually grooming new leadership talent. This empowerment fosters sustainability that reduces succession concerns.
Communication between neighbors is the only way for a Neighborhood Watch to work. First and foremost, report all suspicious activity and crimes to the your local law enforcement agency. Believe me they want to hear from you.
Are you and your neighbors talking about forming a Neighborhood Watch? Many are using Nextdoor.com as a forum for theirs. Start by using this Checklist.You can pass out this brochure: Take A Stand Against Crime. Join a neighborhood watch PDF.
Vigilance is the key word in Crime Prevention. You are the front line of protection against it. You have the power to stop a crime. Gather as much information as you can about what you see. Let your neighbors know about crime or suspected criminal activity. We can be Victims or Crime Fighters. It is up to you.
Visibility is another key word. If you want to do more for your neighbors start a Citizen Patrol and wear a yellow vest with honor as you walk or ride around your neighborhood. It is up to the community in conjunction with law enforcement to decide whether a patrol is needed. What are you looking for and who do you call?
How to Organize A Neighborhood Watch by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Ask your neighbors if they want to help you organize a neighborhood watch. These are your friends and the guy next door in the area you want to protect. Do your homework prior to this to make yourself familiar with what the responsibilities are and how to organize a successful neighborhood watch. You will all learn as you grow.
During Your First Meeting
- Define the boundaries of your Neighborhood Watch based on natural geography and visibility/surveillance capabilities.
- Groups that are too large make it difficult for neighbors to know one another.
- Large groups also make it difficult for information to flow smoothly and quickly to all residents.
- Choose who will help get the word out to all neighbors to schedule the second meeting.
- Invite all the neighbors in the area you chose to cover to the second meeting.
During Your Second Meeting
- Decisions are now made to start a coordinated effort to form your new Neighborhood Watch. Pick a name for the group at this time so everyone is involved.
- The neighbors are the front line of defense for building a safe neighborhood.
- Ask for volunteers to be Block Captains who have a few houses or a block. An open line of communication is established to provide information about suspicious behavior or crimes in the neighborhood by visiting with the neighbors, sending out an email, or calling them using your You may not need more then one block captain if your area is only a few homes.
- The Block Captains must form a board. They should decide who the liaison is between the Police Department and should meet once a month. Again a board is not necessary if your area is only a few homes.
- Do events, make signs, do a newsletter, build a web site.
- Of course donations and fundraising are necessary. It is up the neighbors how they want to support their Neighborhood Watch.
- A Neighborhood Watch cannot work without of course the neighbors participation.
- You must communicate with the entire neighborhood not just the active members. That is the only way to build your organization. Everyone must know what you have done, are doing, and plan to do. Here is a Customizable Bylaw . View many samples here.
- Now would be a good time to provide a Home Security Inspection Checklist.PDF
Neighborhood Watch programs fail due to lack of participation. In order to have an effective neighborhood watch campaign the majority of the community needs to be involved and active. Do not count on Signs and Stickers to deter Crime. Neighborhood Watch programs succeed when there is ample participation, proper training and regular action by those that stand to gain the most. Getting to know your neighbors and caring for them is critical to making the neighborhood watch an important part of people’s lives, so that they become committed to service, not because of obligation, but out of genuine care and love for their fellow man and neighborhood. Use this Phone Tree to be in contact with your neighbors. Hand out the empty form and let the members fill in the blanks. Everyone wants their privacy and may not want to give everyone their contact information.
- Schedule several neighborhood get-togethers a year such as a BBQ, Ice Cream Socials, Block Parties, or Swap Meets.
- Have several large events by all neighbors such as a Picnic In The Park or participate in the Neighborhood Night Out that is held yearly all over the United States.
- Invite a representative from the Police Department to address a group on such topics as personal safety, child safety, and G.R.E.A.T.
- Invite a firefighter to address the group and the children of the neighborhood on fire prevention and fire safety
- Encourage Operation Identification working with the Police Department.
- Greet and welcome new neighbors. Invite them to be part of your Watch.
- Disseminate information to neighbors such as crime patterns in the area. Also, let others know about neighbors who are on vacation or attending a function listed in the newspaper such as a wedding or funeral.
What are you waiting for? Get started today to form a new neighborhood watch, revive an old one, or help the one you have grow.
There is nothing wrong starting your own neighborhood watch if your neighborhood already has one established. Both groups can cooperate so long as one does not try to stop the other one from trying to protect their neighbors. If you do not like the leaders, if they are not honest, if you see that they are not working toward your best interest then by all means contact the neighbors around your home and start your own. If the established NW is too big causing them to fail to protect you then take control of your neighborhood. Give them a chance and ask who the block captains are in your area. Talk to them if there are any. Do not be intimidated to protect your neighborhood if they attack your efforts.