Take your neighborhood back – join a Neighborhood Watch Program through your local Police Department or Crime Prevention Group. We imagine you are saying, “Oh another project to devote time to that I don’t have”….but it really doesn’t take much time. It does take getting to know your neighbors, being an extra set of ears and eyes, and receiving tips on how to make your home more secure.
Getting Started Is Easy
Contact your management company or your local police department or crime prevention group. They will set up a meeting with your community and review things such as training members in home security and reporting skills and will provide updated information on local crime patterns. Any community resident can join and all ages are welcomed and encouraged to get involved! For tips and event ideas, visit National Night Out and National Association of Town Watch.
A neighborhood watch coordinator can help organize meetings and distribute information back to members. They will also recruit members, and work with local government and law enforcement to put up neighborhood watch signs. This happens usually after at least 20 percent of all households in a neighborhood are enrolled. Neighborhood watch programs have proven to reduce crime in areas where the program has been instituted and maintained.
What Do We Look For
The neighborhood watch groups are an extra set of eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors. Neighborhood watch helps build pride in your community, and you will surely meet some new friends! Some activities the Neighborhood watch would report to the police department include the following:
- Things being removed from of a home when the owners are not home
- Someone looking into home windows or parked vehicles in the neighborhood
- Vehicles driving slowly, or without lights
- A stranger sitting in a vehicle or stopping to talk to a child
- Unusual noise
- Abandoned cars
Other items can include organizing community patrols to walk around parks, lakes, gazebos and reporting any suspicious activity immediately to the police. We’ve found this to work in many communities, reducing both vandalism and graffiti.
How To Report
Any suspicious activity should be reported to the police department. The more details provided, the better! Provide your name and address, give a brief description of what is happening, a description of the suspect (sex, age, height, weight, clothing, etc.); and if there is a vehicle involved, provide the color, make, model, year, license plate, etc. For a list of crime prevention agencies and organizations, visit NATW’s website.
The End Result
In this day and age, where most of us juggle working full-time jobs, raising children, and being involved with school activities and sports, we sometimes forget how important it is to be involved within the community where we live. So next time you see that neighbor and find yourself thinking “ I should go introduce myself,” go do it! It’s a comfort knowing neighbors look out for each other.
Jeanette Catellier, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
Vanguard Community Management