One of the most common questions about crime prevention is about neighborhood watch. Many people want to know how to start one. This is a great question. I think many will be surprised how easy and fun it is to start a neighborhood watch.
First, check out a great website about getting started. It will give you an overview and some things to think about. www.USAOnWatch.org/
- Determine the area you want to organize (the larger the better).
- Talk to surrounding neighbors and find out how many want to assist and participate (8-10 households is a good number).
- Set up a free neighborhood watch website to coordinate your efforts.
Here are five basic steps to get you started and motivated:
1. Contact your local police/sheriff’s department to schedule speakers for your neighborhood watch group. Make sure you pick a location to accommodate your group and presentation (grange, hall, school, etc).
2. Invite your neighbors. Get a name, phone number, and email list. Send out flyers about two to three weeks before your presentation meeting and then follow up with a “reminder” a couple of days before.
3. Prepare a neighborhood map. This map should have the houses, names, and phone numbers of each household.
4. Benefits of the presentation. You will learn how to develop a plan of action, crime prevention techniques, personal safety, how to report suspicious activity, meet your neighbors and develop a communication network, order neighborhood watch signs, and recruit your coordinator and block captains.
5. Maintaining your neighborhood watch plan. Keep your plan on track with meetings, neighborhood outings, and a monthly newsletter, website or blog.
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