Do you know what it takes to create a Mindful neighborhood watch program? It takes a lot of work, community engagement, and police involvement. If you are looking to start and maintain a neighborhood watch program the right way, check out the tips from security experts listed below.
The National Neighborhood Watch Program was created in 1972 and since then more than 25,000 neighborhoods have registered with the USAonWatch- Neighborhood Watch registry. The program does not encourage “intervention” by citizens but instead advises that they “serve as the eyes and ears of law enforcement” only.
5 Tips for a Mindful Neighborhood Watch
- Gather supporters. The first step is to reach out to your neighbors and encourage them to join your efforts in reducing local crime. Organize a committee, research local crime statistics and start brainstorming courses of action.
- Build a partnership with law enforcement. In order for a neighborhood watch program to be successful, there must be a partnership with your police department. Ask if an officer can attend one of your first meetings so that you and the other volunteers can get a better understanding of the local crime being committed and what civilians can do to stop it. The police department can also give you a list of don’ts, so you’ll know what to avoid.
- Delegate and strategize. If you haven’t already, vote on who the leaders of the community watch should be. After initial meetings with law enforcement representatives, come up with an agenda as a team. Are you more concerned with littering? Has there been a rise in thefts lately? How can you work with the police to find a solution?
- Inform and educate. In order to be effective as a neighborhood watch, it is important that all participants are properly trained. Organizations and resources like staysafe.org offer toolkits and schedule training sessions. There are also manuals that are full of information. And some police departments occasionally offer training sessions.
- Motivate and encourage. Keep everyone motivated by creating meaningful projects that the community can get behind. For example, start an initiative to clean up litter or start a program to educate neighborhood kids about the importance of safety.
“We are stronger together than we are alone.” Walter Payton