How to Start a Neighborhood Watch Group

A neighborhood watch group is a great way to bring your community together and fight crime simultaneously. You can start your own group by following these easy guidelines.

First Steps for Success

An individual, community organization, or law enforcement agency can initiate a neighborhood watch group. Use these steps to jump start your program:

  • Hold a meeting to talk about crime problems in your area and see if there is enough interest to organize a watch group.
  • Arrange for local law enforcement professionals to train your neighbors and other members in your community on home security, crime patterns, what types of activity to watch for and how to report it.
  • Select an overall coordinator and a few block captains that will be responsible for organizing volunteers and establishing effective communications with members in the watch group.
  • Seek out volunteers anywhere you can. Ask for support from homeowners and renters, business owners, retirees, young people, etc.

Effective Neighborhood Watch Group Materials and Essentials

Once you’ve got a watch group intact, it’s important to maintain it. Remember these essentials:

  • Regular meetings to keep your group organized and members informed.
  • Volunteers patrolling the neighborhood, on foot or in cars, to spot and report any suspicious.
  • Regular communications, such as fliers, newsletters, or paper or electronic bulletin board messages.
  • Special events to keep members interested and active, including helpful seminars, block parties, neighborhood clean-ups and tournaments.
  • Special safety programs to meet your community's unique needs, like a block parent program to help children during emergencies.

What a Neighborhood Watch Group Should Report

One of the main duties of a watch group is patrolling the neighborhood and reporting anything unusual or suspicious to the local authorities. The following incidents should always be reported to police:

  • Screams or calls for help.
  • A suspicious person lurking around peering into cars or homes.
  • A stranger removing items from unoccupied homes or closed businesses.
  • Vehicles cruising slowly or without lights.
  • Anyone being forced into a vehicle.
  • A stranger stopping to talk to a child.

By organizing a neighborhood watch group, you can help keep criminal activity out of your community. You can find out more information on neighborhood watch groups here.

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