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Even the neighborhoods that most people consider safe have crime.  Some of the more common crimes that you find in a relatively safe neighborhood tend to be crimes against property.  Auto prowls, home break-ins, and vandalism (graffiti, defacement, etc.).  These crimes are hard to catch because by their nature they are committed when no one is watching.

For one house or property this would be a great time to have a security camera.  If anything happens to your property your security camera will catch the criminals in the act.  Security cameras also act as a minor deterrent to crime.  A non-committed criminal may turn around at the site of a camera.  But security cameras only handle the problem on an individual level.

So right now you may be asking how do I keep not just my house but my neighborhood safe?  Start by securing your house.  Make sure that you have an alarm system, a set of security cameras, and all of your locks are strong.  If each person in the neighborhood secures their house like this the overall security of your neighborhood will go up.

You can go a step above passive security to keep your neighborhood safe.  Forming a neighborhood watch (sometimes referred to as a block watch) is a great way to let potential criminals know that they are being watched no matter what time it is and no matter what they are doing.

What Does A Neighborhood Watch Do?

A neighborhood watch is a neighborhood association that gets together to prevent crime.  Together the group of neighbors keep an extra eye on activity around the neighborhood.  Neighborhood watch members participate in a variety of activities around their community such as meeting with local law enforcement to make problems known.  They prepare safety walks to gather support and to send an extra message to potential criminals.

Simply put a neighborhood watch is a group that acts to prevent crime in their neighborhood.  While they are not a group that will intervene if a crime is happening, they are better trained to recognize a potential crime and summon law enforcement quicker.

is your neighborhood safeHow Do I Form a Neighborhood Watch?

The first step to forming a neighborhood watch is fairly intuitive, you need to gather neighbors who wish to participate in the program.  If you know your neighbors this should be fairly easy.  For those who don’t know their neighbors look online.  Your community may have an online bulletin board where you can post an add looking for people who are interested in keeping their neighborhood safe.  Another, more traditional option, is to post fliers and hold a meeting with members of the neighborhood at city hall or a community center.  Businesses benefit from neighborhood watch programs to so they will often be willing to help host a meeting.

Once you have a team together to keep your neighborhood safe then you should contact local law enforcement.  For most people this will be your local police department but for others it might be your local sheriff’s department.  Tell the agency that you wish to form a neighborhood watch and would appreciate their help.  Often times they will assist in providing information to members of the block watch about crime in the area and provide training on crime prevention.  Building a good relationship with local law enforcement is essential in a good neighborhood watch.

The last step to building a neighborhood watch is to build some forum for regular meetings and information dispersal.  Finding a local business or a member who is willing to host monthly meetings is the best option.  By meeting monthly as a large group everyone has the chance to provide and receive information that could be critical to preventing crime.  Forming an online discussion group is also a great way to trade information without needing to wait for the meeting.  Communication is key in the success to any venture!

Multicultural Neighborhood WatchHow Does A Neighborhood Watch Prevent Crime?

A neighborhood watch prevents crime in a variety of hands off ways.  It is never advised that a neighborhood watch approaches a criminal.

It all starts with members placing stickers in their front windows stating that they are the member of a block watch.  These stickers alone have a deterrent affect similar to that of a security camera.  When there are plenty of these stickers around a neighborhood they display that their is a real sense of community.

Meetings prevent crime by themselves.  Word gets around to the criminals that large groups of the neighborhood are getting together with the intention of preventing crime.  That by itself will help prevent crime but it also makes anyone who sees or hears about the meeting more interested in joining or coming forward if a crime happens.  A sense of community builds a level of crime prevention naturally.

Safety walks are another great way to prevent crime.  Scheduling monthly (or more often) safety walks displays a united front against crime.  It does more than that though, it brings awareness to neighbors.  Safety walks often take on a theme such as ending domestic violence or stopping crime at night.  Use these walks to be extra productive by noting burnt out street lights and report them to the city.

Regular newsletters to the community let them know what is going on.  By making people aware of crime trends they are more likely to take steps to prevent that type of crime.  Newsletters can also remind the community to change light bulbs, check on their neighbors, and check their doors twice before leaving home.

Neighborhood watch programs can be game changers for crime in a community.  If you are interested in setting up a neighborhood watch look around the internet.  There are various agencies dedicated to safety and crime prevention that provide a plethora of additional information.  Remember you can make a difference when it come to crime!

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