Community Watch is one of the oldest and most effective crime prevention programs in the country. It brings citizens together to deter crime and make communities safer.
Community Watch counts on citizens to organize themselves and work with the police to keep a trained eye and ear on their communities, while demonstrating their presence at all times of day and night. Community Watch works because it reduces opportunities for crime to occur.
Because law enforcement officers cannot be on every street corner, citizen involvement is necessary to combat crime. You and your neighbors are the ones who really know what is going on in your community. By cooperating with each other and with the police, citizens can help fight crime in the most effective way – by preventing the victimization of themselves, their families and friends. You are the key element in fighting crime.
How to get started:
- Hold an initual meeting with a core group of neighbors and get to know each other. Invite others as you get organized.
- Consider linking with an existing neighorhood organization, such as a homeowner's association, community development office, tenants’ association, or housing authority. They may be able to provide an existing infrastructure you can use.
- Canvass door-to-door to recruit members and inform them about community watch.
- Start an Email or telephone list so people can stay in touch with each other quickly; looking out for children and reporting any unusual activities in the neighborhood.
- Invite the Crime Prevention Officer or other law enforcement officer to speak at your original meeting to help get your Community Watch program started. The police can provide you with materials and safety information.
- Be a good neighbor. Watch out for each other. Stay alert to strangers or other suspicious acitivities. Communicate with your neighbors and keep them informed.
- Call the police whenever you see something that seems out of place, and inform your neighbors.