Neighborhood Watch Programs

Neighborhood watch groups are well known to most people residing in the United States. Whether or not you’ve ever participated in one, you’ve probably still heard of them at least a few times. And over the years they’ve become more and more common, so a lot of people nowadays have joined a neighborhood watch program at some point.

If you don’t know what a neighborhood watch program is, or if you’d simply like to learn more about it then this article is for you. It’s going to cover the important aspects of neighborhood watch groups in order to educate the public on their importance.

What is a neighborhood watch program?

This first section is just going to be a brief explanation of what a neighborhood watch program is, for the people who live in an area where they aren’t prevalent and might not know the details of what they are.

A neighborhood watch program is a community based organization made by a group of people that live in the same area. These programs or group’s main purpose is to make their neighborhood a safer and better place for everyone in the area to live. It’s a much smaller and more local version of homeland security.

It’s a volunteer based organization, so nobody is obligated to join but most of the time a good number of the area’s residents will end up joining if nothing else then just for the sense of community that it provides.

What all does a neighborhood watch program do?

Protection is one of the most well known functions of a neighborhood watch program, and if that is the group’s goal then they will typically come up with some sort of a schedule to patrol their neighborhood and keep an eye out for anything unusual. 

They might take turns with one or two people going out every night to take a look around the neighborhood. These sorts of groups might also hand out anti-crime pamphlets and focus on crime prevention based education.

But many neighborhood watch groups are more focused on things like helping out with potential community disasters or just preparing for these events ahead of time. These groups might discuss plans for various disasters at their weekly meetings. Some of them might also perform neighborhood cleanups.

So in short, neighborhood watch groups can do anything that the members decide that they want to do. It could be a local version of crime prevention, disaster control, or just a cohesive effort to make their neighborhood just a little bit nicer.

What are some methods they use to protect other than patrols?

Neighborhood watch groups that don’t do patrols may try to prevent crime in other, and slightly more creative ways. The strategies often include decreasing the amount of chances that criminals would have to commit crimes in the first place. Note that it being known that there is a neighborhood watch is sometimes enough of a deterrent.

One popular method is to try and make all the houses in the neighborhood seem occupied at all times. So if a neighbor is on vacation for the week then the rest of the watch group might pick up the absent neighbor’s newspaper, mow the lawn, or even fill up their trash can in order to make it seem like they’re still there.

How are neighborhood watch programs formed?

To start a neighborhood watch program one person from the community or neighborhood in question has to take an interest in starting one, and take the proper steps.

  1. Firstly they’re going to need to recruit a couple of more members from the community. 
  • After they’ve recruited as many neighbors as possible they can contact their local law enforcement agency and set up a meeting to discuss the official formation of the group. The law enforcement agency will be able to help quite a bit in educating the new group.
  • Then the first goals and plans of actions should be established, this planning will normally take place at the first meeting of the group. A clear sense of what purpose the group was formed for will help it to be successful.
  • Over the next few weeks the group will probably have a few more meetings and with the help of local law enforcement might even take some classes and have some training that pertains to their goals.
  • The final step is to keep everyone in the group enthusiastic while trying to recruit more members, and all the while keeping communication open with the local law enforcement agency.

If neighborhood watch groups follow these steps then they will normally achieve success and meet their goals. It just requires planning and cooperation between all parties.

Who can join a neighborhood watch program?

Anyone living in the neighborhood who is interested in the group can join, and the more members there are the better. A lot of new neighborhood watch programs easily die out when there aren’t enough members because enthusiasm wanes after a while.

And local law enforcement will always and should always be involved in these groups. There may even be a liaison from the local law enforcement agency assigned to help the group during its beginning stages.

In conclusion, neighborhood watch programs can greatly improve the living experience of everyone living in the area. They can also cut down on crime, and increase communication with law enforcement which is important for a safer community.

So if there is a local neighborhood watch program near you then you should consider joining, they’re always looking for new members and you want to miss the sense of community that these groups provide. Being a part of something bigger is always a satisfying experience.

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