Neighborhood Watch is becoming increasingly common in communities all over California, and it’s been a good thing. In most cases, the crime rate dropped significantly once the civilian program was put into place. Recent data released by the U.S Department of Justice reported that on the average, communities with an active an organized neighborhood watch had a 16% reduction in crime.
How Neighborhood Watch Programs Work
While it’s okay for a group of community members to decide they want to look over the community, it’s not okay for the watch program to use a vigilante justice approach to protecting the neighborhood. The programs are required to not only let local law enforcement agencies know that they’re forming a watch program, but to also accept the training programs the police offer. By the time the training has been completed, members of the neighborhood watch program should know how to identify signs of nefarious activity and how to respond to it. The most successful programs are the ones where the police and members of the community watch program work together to keep the neighborhood safe.
It’s important to note that if you aren’t working closely with the police and something goes wrong during neighborhood watch, you could find yourself facing both criminal and civil charges that have the potential to completely destroy your life.
Starting a Neighborhood Watch Program
If there is a good neighborhood watch program in your area, getting involved is pretty simple. Just speak to the people in charge of the program and they’ll help you get the training you require.
If your community doesn’t currently have a neighborhood watch program, you’ll need to speak to your neighbors and find out if they’re willing to become involved in a program that would help keep the neighborhood safe. If they are, the next step is speaking to the local sheriff who will help you start the program and make sure you get the training you need. It’s a good idea to spend some time with other neighborhood watch programs and observing how they recruit new members, work with law enforcement, and handle the ins and outs of keeping the program running smoothly.
Side Benefits of Neighborhood Watch Programs
One of the things that has really surprised people once they join a community crime prevention program is that not only do they feel safer, but that they also become more connected to the community. In many instances, it’s the first time that they meet many of their neighborhoods and start becoming friends. The establishment of neighborhood watch often leads to community activities such as picnics, casual sporting events, and cleanup programs.