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Woodland Hills CA

March, 10th

A Local Neighborhood Watch Resource Guide

Written by

A Local Neighborhood Watch Resource Guide

A neighborhood watch is a group of organized citizens that is committed to the prevention of vandalism and crime in any neighborhood. Every year in the US, there are 2,000,000 home break ins reported, and the largest number of such break ins takes place during the summer months. In 2009 alone, police arrested 581,765 Americans for violent crime while arresting another 1,728,285 Americans for property crimes. Active neighborhood watches discourage the kind of behavior and activity that leads to property crimes like vandalism and break ins. The reason behind this is because neighbors have received training not only to notice suspect activity, but then also report it to both police and other neighbors.

Getting the Community Involved

To get the community involved, start small by forming a small planning committee among some neighbors; the purpose of this committee is to gauge the interest of the people in the neighborhood in starting a neighborhood watch program. If there is enough interest in having a neighborhood watch, the next step is to hold the first meeting of the watch in a community member’s house. Before the meeting occurs, you should inform the local sheriff or police office so that they can provide an officer who will also attend and rattle off crime statistics information to the attendees, while also educating them about the workings of a neighborhood watch program. To get people to come, print out some flyers and hand them out to everyone in the neighborhood before the first meeting.

? Involvement of Community: Paragraph description on what it takes to stir the interest of residents for a watch program.

? Beginning a Watch Program: Informative section that outlines the steps people have to take to start up a neighborhood watch program.

? Starting a Neighborhood Watch: Steps on how to begin a neighborhood watch program include becoming well-organized.

? Involving the Community: Detailed procedures on what the community can to do rally around a watch program.

? Instructions: Webpage that offers helpful tips for people who are interested in starting up a watch program in their neighborhood.

? How to start a Neighborhood Watch Program: Information that tells visitors how anyone in a community can start or become part of a watch program.

Getting Organized

Getting organized is essential to the success of any local neighborhood watch. At the first meeting, all interested members should decide what positions of responsibility to assign to attendees; this is usually accomplished by way of democratic election among the neighborhood watch people. Of all positions, the most important one is that of the neighborhood watch coordinator. His job involves recruiting new members, expanding the program, behaving as a liaison between the members and police, maintaining a list of participants and members of the neighborhood, and even holding training programs. Due to the many responsibilities, a coordinator should be a retiree or a self-employed person who spends lots of time at home.

Another important position is that of the block captain. The block captain is tasked with being the chief liaison between the coordinator and the residents. He also encourages new residents to join the neighborhood watch and to keep them abreast of any new meetings. In addition, the captain also has to contact each watch member routinely to talk about suggestions or concerns.

? Group Formation: Information on how to go about forming the basic core of the neighborhood watch.

? Role Designation: A guide on how to go about designating people for different responsibilities within the watch.

? Drug Houses: Information on how neighborhood watches can be a good deterrent against drug houses in a neighborhood.

? Picking Roles: Advice from police department about how to designate duties to different individuals on a watch program.

? Keeping in Contact: Webpage that talks about the importance of neighbors communicating with each other to make sure a program works.

? Duties of the Block Captain: Detailed walkthrough of just what the responsibilities of the highly esteemed captain position entail.

Mapping it out

The usefulness of breaking up a neighborhood into sectors relates to increased organization and logistical practicality. In each sector, there are usually representatives that help keep their neighbors in touch with the broader neighborhood watch program. They accomplish this by gathering their safety and crime concerns while also informing them of news that is happening in the program. At every watch meeting, these sector representatives report on the concerns in their sectors, and then there are ideas presented on how to address the problems in order to achieve solutions.

? Sector Representatives: The concept of sector representatives is explained in an example from a local neighborhood watch’s website.

? Watch Maintenance: Advice from local police on how to maintain the cohesion and order of a neighborhood watch.

? Communications Network: Particulars about how the division of roles includes a network of captains, phone tree members, and concerned residents.

? Sector Responsibility: Information on the roles and responsibilities of each member of a watch program, covering their jurisdiction.

? Implementation: Write-up about how the watch works through the cooperation of residents sharing information with each other in different sectors.

? Sector Posts: Information from a police department in Colorado, which uses a system of sectors that features on block captain each.

Make Your Presence Known

Ways to keep the community informed of when watch meetings are occurring are numerous and manifold. Prominent members of the watch, like the coordinator as well as the block captain, are tasked with always being in contact with members of the watch as well as the broader community at large to sign up new members. Due to their constant contact with residents, they are always able to update them on meeting schedules. Other members such as the sector representatives above are also tasked with keeping members of their sectors in their communities aware of when watch meetings are happening. Printing flyers and distributing them to residents is also an effective way of getting the word out about upcoming meetings. Flyers and other public, printed materials have a way of dissuading crime in the neighborhood due to the psychological effect of informing criminals that there are many vigilant residents on guard.

? Window Stickers: Information about making sure potential criminals know of the effects of a watch program include posting signs and stickers in public.

? Watch Signs: Example of numerous signs that people can use and post in their neighborhood to deter crime.

? Signs against Crime: More examples of the kinds of watch program signs that people can post in their community.

? Neighborhood Watch Signs: Webpage that features a good many signs that people can use to deter crime in their neighborhood.

? Neighborhood Watch Particulars: Details of everything that’s involved in a watch program, which includes notes on making leaflets to publicize the watch.

? Signs for Watch Programs: Website that offers people in a watch program the chance to make their presence known with signage.

Bring in the Experts

Experts like police officers and other public safety officials should be brought in as early as possible. The most optimal time to do this is right at the first, official neighborhood watch meeting, so the police has the opportunity to plan ahead and dedicate speakers, equipment, liaison officers, and training programs to your watch. The local police department will also be in charge of dividing any local neighborhood into sections and then assigning officers to each section. Each officer assigned to a section will be accountable for going to watch meetings and educating watch members on how to look out for suspicious activity.

? Tips: Tips from law enforcement on how people can be effective in using a watch program.

? Advice on Reporting: Webpage that details the situations of suspicious activity that should make someone report to police.

? What to Expect: Police advice on what you can expect after the launch of a neighborhood watch program.

? Neighborhood Watch Setup: Police website that describes their involvement in a watch program.

? Police Involvement: Information about a police representative that will attend neighborhood watch meetings for a local community.

? Neighborhood Watch Unit: Webpage for a local police unit that is responsible for working with communities to establish watch programs.

For those who are starting a neighborhood watch group, the Internet is the best resource to help you in that task. The Internet features many how-to guides on how to start watch groups, in addition to contact information of organizations like USAonWatch.org, an organization devoted to promoting effective watch programs. At websites like USAonWatch.org, people who are starting a new watch can get informative materials that will aid them in starting their program, in exchange for registering online. Registering also includes the receipt of a free newsletter that provides more important watch information.

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