The concept of the “Neighborhood Watch” program became popular when various law enforcement agencies worked in partnership with communities to find ways to get citizens more involved in crime prevention. It was from there that the “Neighborhood Watch” program was developed with the premise that having devoted neighbors taking to the streets each night would be another method to help in preventing crime; and assist in keeping their communities safe. The success from the “Neighborhood Watch” program relies on citizens coming together and working alongside their local police officials to keep watch over their communities. Besides home security systems, “Neighborhood Watch” has proven to be one of the most effective methods in preventing and reducing crime.
The purpose of a “Neighborhood Watch” program is not to have citizens of the community take the law into their own hands, but instead to encourage everyone to watch each other’s home by being alert and observant. As the saying goes, “When You See Something-Say Something”. So when something does appear to be out of the ordinary, the citizens of the community will feel comfortable in notifying the police of any suspicious activities or crimes.
Besides crime prevention, there are many benefits to having a “Neighborhood Watch” program in place. Such benefits include:
(1) A reduction in crime
(2) A greater sense of community and safety
(3) Improved communication
(4) Improved relationships with neighbors and local law enforcement.
“Neighborhood Watch” programs work because they reduce the number of opportunities a criminal has to commit a crime. Instead of relying on changing or altering a criminal’s behavior, the program deters criminals by letting them know that eyes are watching. Setting up a “Neighborhood Watch” program to reduce home burglaries is not difficult. It’s just a matter of one individual or family caring enough to spread the word about the benefits of the program.
Talk with your neighbors about setting up a “Neighborhood Watch” and recruit as many as possible. Someone has to get the ball rolling, so it might as well be you. The first step is to talk with each of your neighbors about your interest in setting up a “Neighborhood Watch”. If possible, type up a short description of the purpose of the program and post it in the neighborhood’s newsletter, place a flier in the mailboxes, and/or have fellow neighbors spread the word. Keep in mind that you will have greater success in getting people involved if you speak with them in person. Having a “Neighborhood Watch” program in place can go a long way in helping to ward off would-be intruders, and in getting to know your neighbors much better. By displaying “Neighborhood Watch” signs you may just deter a criminal’s motives since they’ll immediately know that you’re watching your neighbor’s properties and your neighbor is watching yours.