wikiHow to Form a Neighborhood Watch

Organizing a neighborhood watch group can help prevent crime in your neighborhood through awareness and closer relationships among neighbors. You can have a successful neighborhood watch by completing a few simple steps that require mainly time and dedication of a handful of interested neighbors and the support of your neighborhood and local law enforcement.

Steps

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    Canvass your neighborhood via a door-to-door campaign. Ask your neighbors about any crimes they've experienced personally and about their interest in serving on a committee or being a block captain. Get them to sign a petition you can show your neighborhood board about neighbor interest in such a group.
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    Request a spot on the agenda of your neighborhood or homeowner's association's next board meeting. Present them with the petitions your neighbors signed and ask for their support in starting such a group.
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    Contact your local law enforcement office to ask for input on how to form a neighborhood watch. If you are within city limits, work with your local police department, but if you live in a rural or unincorporated area, contact your county sheriff's office. Ask them for input and invite a law enforcement representative to come speak at your first organizational meeting.
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    Prepare a flier, newsletter or other informational one-page piece to distribute to the homes in your neighborhood. Describe in this piece the reason for wanting to start a neighborhood watch and an invitation to an informational meeting. If crime is an issue in your neighborhood, include details about recent break-ins, robberies and vandalism to make a strong case for the creation of a watch group.
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    Hold your initial neighborhood-wide meeting. If you don't have an area large enough, contact a nearby bank or community center about having your meeting there. If you aren't sure about places in your area that offer free meeting rooms, contact your local convention and visitor's bureau to see if they can direct you to a free or low-cost venue.
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    Designate block captains and other members who wish to serve on your neighborhood watch committee. Ask them to stay after this first meeting so you can schedule training and monthly meetings. Task your committee members with setting up a phone tree on each of their blocks.
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    Register your neighborhood watch group with USAOnWatch.org. This national organization works closely with law enforcement agencies and provides support, information and other resources to neighborhood watch groups.
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    Order a starter kit from the National Neighborhood Watch Institute (NNWI). This kit includes 15 decals, two signs (one plastic and one aluminum), three copies of the three Neighborhood Watch handbooks, three each of five worksheets and one Emergency Preparedness Handbook. Several kits are available, depending on which signs your neighborhood wants: Boris the Burglar, masked bad guy or the blue Neighborhood Watch eye. Depending on your budget, you can order additional window decals, street signs, magnetic vehicle signs and other supplies from NNWI.
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    Host an annual or even quarterly Neighborhood Watch block parties and take part in National Night Out, held each August. Taking part in regular events like these will solidify relationships among your neighbors and with local law enforcement. This type of solidarity also discourages criminals from breaking the law in your neighborhood.

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Categories: Volunteer and Community Service