Continue To Grow
How To Keep Your Neighborhood Watch Going and Growing
These are the National Guidelines to help Neighborhood Watch Programs continue to grow. When crime drops or the neighborhood problem is alleviated, some watch programs slowly lose momentum. To keep a Neighborhood Watch program vital, blend crime prevention into other community concerns or activities.
Identify the neighborhood’s strengths and problems and then brainstorm on what members can do to improve the quality of community life. Here are some ideas to get you started. Social gatherings also continue a bond.
- Encourage schools to teach crime and drug prevention in the classroom.
- Cooperate with parent associations, recreation departments, and schools to organize after-school programs for children and teens.
- Start a block parent program to help children cope with emergencies while walking to and from school or playing in the area. These programs can be a reliable source of help for children in emergency or frightening situations. Volunteers must meet specific standards, including a law enforcement records check. Programs are established locally as a partnership among law enforcement, schools, and community organizations.
- Spearhead a Gang or Violence Prevention Task Force to assess these problems and develop prevention strategies or solutions.
- Translate crime and drug prevention materials into Spanish or other languages needed by non-English speakers in your community.
- Get a local Boys Girls Club or other youth organization to help the elderly with marking valuables, enhancing home security, or going to the store. In turn, senior citizens can help youth with such needs as tutoring or recreational programs, oral history projects, or cooking classes.
- Turn a vacant lot into a park, playground, playing field, or community garden.
- Work with small businesses to repair rundown storefronts, clean up littered streets, and create jobs for young people.
- Link up with victim services to train your members in assisting victims of crime.
- Recruit utility workers, cab drivers, and other people with two-way radios or cellular phones to extend your Neighborhood Watch network.
- Ask people who seldom leave their houses to be ‘Window Watchers,” looking out for children and any unusual activities in the neighborhood.
- Encourage businesses to hold lunchtime crime and drug prevention seminars and special events for employees and their families.
- Sponsor a crime and drug prevention fair at a shopping mall or community center.
- Get banks and other businesses to include crime prevention tips in their statements and bills.
- Work with local media-newspapers, radio, and TV stations- to publicize events and thank supporters.
- Sponsor a seminar for the elderly and others on how to avoid becoming victims of con games and fraud.
- Get a local theater group to produce a play teaching children how to protect themselves from violence, drug abuse, or other crime.
- Work with the telephone company or local schools to teach children how to use 9-1-1 or other emergency numbers.
- Establish a “buddy” system for the elderly and people with disabilities, in which someone checks with them daily by phone and summons help if needed.
- Link Neighborhood Watch to efforts promoted by other groups: drug prevention, child protection, anti-vandalism projects, arson prevention, neighborhood cleanup, and recycling. Share resources and promote each other’s activities. Invite guest speakers to Neighborhood Watch meetings.
- Publicize your program and its successes in local media ranging from civic association newsletters to local radio show to television.
- Start a community crime prevention newsletter. Block captains or volunteers (including kids and teenagers) can distribute the newsletter, which also helps them keep in touch with residents.
- Work with businesses to develop a Business Watch program. Ask them to help pay for fliers and a newsletter, provide meeting places, and distribute crime prevention information.
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