Should You Join a Neighborhood Watch Program or Start Your Own?

  • Neighborhood watch groups have been around for quite some time. Although their popularity has faded, they are still a great deterrent for crime.
  • Since Americans are busier today more than ever before, forming a neighborhood watch group can help keep your property and family safe.
  • Visit the National Neighborhood Watch website to determine if your community needs its own watch group or if you can join a local chapter nearby.
  • If you feel the need to create your own neighborhood watch group, use the 5-step method presented by the National Neighborhood Watch group.

When it comes to preventing crime in communities, organized neighborhood watches are the oldest method as well as one of the most effective. Such groups actually go all the way back to the times of America’s first colonial settlements. Today, neighborhood watch groups work with law enforcement to make their neighborhoods safer by deterring crime.

The Advantage of Neighborhood Watch Programs

Criminals thrive in neighborhoods in which people aren’t familiar with their neighbors or watch out for one another. Unfortunately, in today’s society, people have fewer personal connections. Since many families have two working parents, and children who are involved in numerous activities, homes are often empty. This creates a perfect scenario for criminals.

One of the most successful ways of deterring crime is reducing the opportunity for it to occur. When neighbors band together to form a network of “watchers,” they develop a system that can spot suspicious activity and notify law enforcement to prevent crime.

Another Huge Bonus of Neighborhood Watch Groups

Besides making your community safer and reducing crime, neighborhood watch groups bring an added benefit. A watch group can help improve communications between residents of the community, which in turn helps foster a more united one.

Should You Join a Neighborhood Watch?

There may already be a neighborhood watch in your community. You can do a quick online search at the website set up by the National Neighborhood Watch. Visit their website to find a group in your community.

Neighborhood Watch was launched in 1972. Groups of citizens get involved and work with law enforcement, where they learn how to keep a trained eye and ear on their communities. Neighborhood watch groups are one of the most successful ways of deterring crime, both by reducing opportunities for crime to occur, as well as, demonstrating their presence to would-be criminals at all times day and night.

Starting Your Own Neighborhood Watch Group

If you want to start your own neighborhood watch group, the best place to begin is to visit the National Sheriffs Association Organization website.

The Neighborhood Watch website will provide you with all the information you need on how to start a neighborhood watch group. You’ll learn how to organize a group, how to keep track of who’s involved, how to set up neighborhood watch meetings, and how you can hone your skills in order to maintain a successful neighborhood watch.

5 Basic Steps to Starting Your Own Neighborhood Watch

  1. Recruit as many residents as possible.
  2. Contact your local law enforcement agency and invite them to meet with your group. A successful collaboration with law enforcement is a major key to success.
  3. Discuss the concerns of your community with your watch group members, then develop a plan of action. Start simple and easy. Choose the top three concerns and work on those first. Then develop other goals as you progress.
  4. Develop a plan for communications. Your group may choose to hold in-person meetings, set up an online meeting portal, whether private or a private social media group, or both.
  5. Hold meetings and events in your community. Making your neighborhood aware that you have an active watch group, can not only help non-members in the community be aware of what the group is doing but can also recruit additional members. The more members your group has to watch over your community, the better.

To get more information about establishing your own neighborhood watch, visit the National Neighborhood Watch website.