NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAM
The Neighborhood Watch Program is designed to organize you and your neighbors to watch out for one another by reporting suspicious activities in your area.
Literature and signs are supplied to Neighborhood Watch groups enabling them to be more effective, while advertising to would be burglars the existence of an active Neighborhood Watch group.
The reputation of this program is often sufficient to scare away potential thieves and vandals. We are actively recruiting for new Watch areas and Block Captains.
More than 1.9 million crimes are reported in California every year and many remain unreported. State law enforcement officials attribute some of the increase in reported crimes to greater citizen awareness. Voluntary crime prevention efforts such as Neighborhood Watch have proven effective in encouraging greater citizen participation.
Report Suspicious Activities
All too often a citizen will see suspicious persons or possible criminal activities and fail to report it to their police Department. As a result, many crimes occur that might otherwise have been prevented. Citizens must learn to be wary of their surroundings and perceptive of what seems out of place or out of the ordinary. It may be something as simple as a suspicious door-to-door salesman, a moving van loading your neighbor’s furniture, or a strange vehicle or person in your neighborhood.
What you report may very well be harmless or it may be someone casing a neighborhood to commit a crime. Regardless of what it turns out to be, the presence of a patrol car in response to your call will demonstrate that your neighborhood is no easy mark for criminals.
How it Works
Neighborhood Watch, also known as Citizen Crime Watch, Block Watch, or Home Alert, means people looking out for one another to reduce crime in their neighborhoods. Citizens work with local law enforcement agencies to:
Report suspicious activities
Assist in property identification
Conduct home security surveys
Use home security measures
Neighborhood Watch meetings offer information on home security and property identification. They help neighbors cooperate with one another. Neighborhood Watch promotes good security practices, observant and caring neighbors, and cooperation between citizens and law enforcement. These are the keys to successful crime prevention programs.
Experienced crime prevention practitioners know that sustaining Neighborhood Watch is much more difficult than organizing neighbors after a crime has violated their community. An effective Neighborhood Watch program often increases the number of police service calls to the area. However, these calls decrease as criminal activity decreases. The neighborhoods that maintain their programs share these common traits:
(1) The people in the neighborhood have an investment in the program; it belongs to them, not to the local law enforcement department.
(2) Law enforcement is seen as a vital source of guidance.
(3) The neighbors see crime prevention as their responsibility and they are part of program planning, implementation, maintenance, and evaluation.
The program address local concerns. Many programs focus on crime and neighborhood problems such as abandoned cars, domestic violence, child recreation, or the increase in drug or gang activity.
Revitalizing Neighborhood Watch
The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) suggests that revitalizing Neighborhood Watch programs requires community leaders and practitioners to see themselves not just as providers of services, but as managers of community resources. It suggests the following four guideposts for improving programs:
Citizen participation – involve citizens in every aspect of program operations.
Organization management – community leaders and practitioners must manage and organize the skills and resources available throughout the community.
Community concerns and interests – programs should focus not just on the crime issue, but other neighborhood social problems which affect the quality of community life.
Recognition – volunteers, community organizations, police and other governmental agencies deserves and needs public recognition for their roles. Everyone supporting the program deserve recognition.