Why Some Fail
One of the biggest reasons for failure is micro-managing by the leadership. When a “Board” forces members to comply because of “By Lays” nothing will get done. Lack of communication between neighbors stops all interest. The size of the area that will be covered by any Neighborhood Watch should be determined by the number of volunteers who want to be block captains. They should cover only 2 to 6 homes or the ones they can see from their own front window. One neighborhood watch can be 6 homes and not an entire neighborhood. Never count on the street and yard signs like most do. It gives a false sense of security. You think everyone is watching out for you when it is possible no one is. Homes have been burglarized with those signs in the yard and or at the curb.
If there is an existing neighborhood watch that has failed or is failing in your area there is no harm in forming your own around your home. It is about neighbors watching out for other neighbors. You can try to breathe new life into the old group but look into why they failed in the first place. Sometimes a fresh start is better. Many fail because they took too big of a bite trying to organize entire regions rather than just a few homes
Reasons Why Most Neighborhoods Watch Programs Fail
Neighborhood watch programs are a great concept, but in most cases, they are ineffective because they are not properly executed. Many if not most, neighborhood watch programs rely on street signs and window stickers to do the entire job. Street signs and window stickers are a deterrent, but can in no way report suspicious or criminal behavior. Also, when a community only relies on the most basic and simplistic portion of a neighborhood watch program, their complacent attitude shows on the outside, in the form of security breaches, that signal to a prospective crook that no one is really watching. These actions could be leaving a garage door up or leaving valuables such as lawn equipment or ladders unsecured around the home.
Another reason that neighborhood watch programs fail is a lack of participation. In order to have an effective neighborhood watch campaign the majority of the community needs to be involved and active. It’s not enough to start a campaign because someone was the victim of a burglary or worst, have a few meetings and then not meet until the next criminal act occurs. In order to be effective, the committee must meet at least once a quarter. Have a designated person to send out regular email alerts of criminal activities that the local police are warning people about. Also, a Twitter account for the community could be set up so that everyone following can get the update at once either online or on their blackberry or cell phone.
Neighborhood watch programs can 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.