We all value a sense of security as a vital feature of the neighborhood where we live. According to researchers at Harvard University, neighborhood cohesion, otherwise known as neighbors who know and look out for each other, is among the strongest features of safe neighborhoods.
How to Start your own Neighborhood Watch:
- Involve local law enforcement.
- Talk to other neighborhood watch groups working to prevent crime and drugs. Find out what has worked in their areas.
- Arrange a kickoff meeting.
- Advertise the meeting in advance. Post invitations throughout the neighborhood.
- Make it brief (less than two hours).
- Select leaders (chairperson/coordinator, block captains, committee chairs) with an eye toward interests, “people skills,” and commitment. Election works well for most groups.
- Train residents in neighborhood watch basics and in observation and reporting.
- Assess neighborhood needs.
- Members should learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for each other and the neighborhood, and report activities that raise their suspicions to the police or sheriff’s office.
- Any geographic unit can be the base – a street, a block, an apartment building or complex, a business district, an office building, a park, a marina, a school campus, etc.
- Ask for volunteers and assign tasks.
- Agree on a meeting schedule.
- Include youth, adults, and seniors.