For more than 40 years, neighbors across the nation have banded together to participate in the Neighborhood Watch Program and form watch groups. The program involves neighbors watching out for neighbors, and is based on the philosophy that an active participation of neighborhood residents is a critical element in community safety. Neighborhood Watch allows community members the opportunity to work together with law enforcement to prevent crime in their neighborhoods.
How Neighborhood Watch can help prevent crime in your neighborhood:
How does it work?
- Neighbors are the eyes and ears for one another and law enforcement
- Neighbors watch and report suspicious activity in the neighborhood
- Neighbors get to know each other while building a stronger community
An effective program consists of a Coordinator, Block Captains, and the residents. The Coordinator serves as the primary organizer of the program, and communicates with the Block Captains. Block Captains are responsible for staying in touch with the residents on their “block.” All residents are encouraged to take an active role in reporting suspicious activity in the neighborhood.
When a crime or suspicious behavior is observed, residents are asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office FIRST to report the incident. The Sheriff’s Office does not advocate citizens taking any action when observing suspicious activity; trained law enforcement should be the only ones ever to take action.
After contact with a deputy is made, the resident should contact their Block Captain, who in turn makes the Coordinator aware of the situation. The Coordinator then contacts the other Block Captains who contact the residents in their “block” via a predetermined notification list (such as telephone, email, etc.).
How do I start a Neighborhood Watch in my neighborhood?
How much of my time will it require?
Talk with your neighbors about the program and generate their interest in participating.
Set up a meeting with the Sheriff’s Office. A Neighborhood Resource Deputy will meet with you and interested residents to discuss the program and answer your questions.
After the meeting, select a Coordinator and Block Captains, and discuss the best way to share information with your community.
Provide your Coordinator’s contact information to the Sheriff’s Office. Once established, your Neighborhood Watch group is encouraged to meet regularly to discuss any community concerns, and to identify ways to improve safety and quality of life in the community.
Participation in Neighborhood Watch takes very little time. We simply ask you to be observant while conducting your normal everyday activities. At the very most, one hour a month would be the amount of time required to fulfill the duties of Coordinator or Block Captain.
Where are the meetings held?
Neighborhood Watch meetings are set up by the Coordinator. They are typically held in the neighborhood complex, club house, at a Sheriff’s Office facility, or at a location selected by the Coordinator. The Sheriff’s Office recommends that Neighborhood Watch groups hold meetings on a quarterly basis to exchange information and share ideas. The Sheriff’s Office will attend any meetings as requested by the group, and is available for assistance on an ongoing basis.
For additional information or questions about starting one in your neighborhood please contact the Specialized Services, Crime Prevention Unit at (407) 665-6880. Information on the National Neighborhood Watch program can be found at www.nnw.org