It's time to come together and start a neighborhood watch. Even if you feel safe in your neighborhood, you never know when having a neighborhood watch could save the day. Let's take a closer look at what this type of watch is and how you can form one.

What is a neighborhood watch program?

"Neighborhood crime watch unites those who live in a neighborhood with law enforcement officials in an effort to deter criminal activity [like burglaries], thus improving the safety of communities and the people who live in them."
Your home is your castle, right? Your safe haven. It's where you go to socialize with your family and lay your head down at night to get a restful night of sleep. What happens, though, when your home becomes threatened by criminals? You lose sleep at night! Fortunately, though, a neighborhood watch can help deter criminals from making your home their target. Not only does this lead to a safer community to live in, but it also improves your overall quality of life. A neighborhood watch program strives to make the neighborhood in which you live safer. Did you know neighborhood watch programs have been in place since the early 1970s? Those who live in neighborhoods with a watch program tend to have a much lower crime rate than those that don't have this type of program in place. The watch program itself is only as effective as its members, meaning it is crucial that your entire neighborhood be willing to participate. An around-the-clock watch becomes possible when you have everyone in the neighborhood involved.

How to start a neighborhood watch?

Starting a neighborhood watch can be started by following five simple steps. Remember, your neighborhood watch is going to take time to develop, with the average length of time taking anywhere from two to six weeks. Here are the five steps:
  • Communicate with local law enforcement
  • Set up a launch meeting
  • Advertise the neighborhood watch
  • Get prepared
  • Set a good example
The first step in organizing your neighborhood watch is to let local law enforcement know your intentions. These officials serve as a paramount staple within a watch program as they will be the responders to any incidents that take place. Your local law enforcement officials can advise you of any helpful tips they have, which is another reason you should contact them as soon as you decide to put together a neighborhood watch. The second step you will want to follow is to hold a meeting at a convenient time for the majority of your neighborhood to attend. As you can imagine, it will likely be difficult for everyone to attend because of work and personal life time constraints, but if you speak with each neighbor, you can easily come up with a time that is convenient for the most of them. If needed, you can always hold more than one meeting. Next, once you have initiated and organized the watch, it then becomes time to advertise the watch and to put your plan into action. To prepare for this, you will want to make sure you can answer any questions that may arise from those involved in the watch. You can easily find answers to common questions by 'googling' them online. Now, it's time for you to lead by example. The best way to do this is by being actively involved in the watch program and to keep in contact with all neighbors on a regular basis. The more all of you stay in contact with one another, the easier it becomes to keep your watch program in place.

The Takeaway

It's time to make your neighborhood a safer place to live. Start today by creating a neighborhood watch.