A neighborhood watch program is a way that a community can come together to safely reduce crime and protect residents in the area. The people in the neighborhood need to organize this effort. Starting a neighborhood watch in the community requires five initial steps.
1. Organize Neighbors
The first step is to organize neighborhood volunteers into a coherent group. This usually means holding an initial meeting. The call for volunteers could be made with community announcements in a paper, flyers in stores and on street corners or through a door-to-door recruiting effort. The main goal of the meeting is to establish a list of volunteers taking part in the watch. The second goal should be to assign positions and possibly groups. The coordinator is the person who will keep the watch organized. Block captains are individuals who lead watch efforts in specific areas within the neighborhood.
2. Schedule Presentations And Trainings
Law enforcement and national neighborhood watch organizations often provide resources to a community including presentations and training sessions. It is important for the watch to meet with law enforcement in the area and to have educational training about crime and security. These services are readily available in large states like California. Volunteers will learn what to look for, how to react when crime is detected and how to avoid problems. Most training sessions also cover ways to improve home security in order to deter criminals in the area. Law enforcement might even share information about local crime patterns to keep the community informed.
3. Establish Communications Channels
Regular communication is essential for a successful neighborhood watch program. There should be multiple channels for communication between volunteers. A phone tree is a simple way to spread a message throughout the watch and neighborhood. Community websites are another good resource. Volunteers should report all suspicious activity to block captains and should speak regularly to neighbors who are not taking part in the watch.
4. Schedule Regular Meetings And Patrols
The next step is to map out the boundaries of the neighborhood watch. The neighborhood also needs to be subdivided into smaller individual areas that could be as limited as a quarter of a block depending on the size of the area and the layout. Block captains take responsibility for each subdivided area. Regular patrols should be scheduled. These could occur several times each day or only during important times such as when children leave school or during dusk. Patrols involve walking around the area and looking for suspicious activity or talking to neighbors. The watch should agree to weekly or monthly in-person meetings to discuss important issues.
5. Advertise The Neighborhood Watch
The final step is to advertise the neighborhood watch throughout the area. When purchasing a home security system from a company like Vivint Hampton VA residents usually place a decal in the window indicating the presence of the technology. This deters criminals from even attempting to burglarize a house. Advertising the neighborhood watch has the same effect. Street signs and flyers should be placed in clear view. Homes and stores should have neighborhood watch decals in the windows. These signs and decals are freely available through some national neighborhood watch organizations. They will also help to attract new volunteers as new people move into the community.
Hayley is a freelance blogger specializing in home security in Modesto CA.