If you’re enthusiastic about making the community safer, you may want to consider starting a neighborhood watch program.
The purpose of a neighborhood watch is to educate citizens on how to help themselves and their community by learning how to identify and report suspicious activity. It’s all about watching each other’s backs. Members of the neighborhood watch group also serve as extra lookouts for police, and help funnel information between community members and law enforcement officials to improve their crime-fighting efforts.
So, how do you start a neighborhood watch program? It’s easier than you may think.
- Recruit a group of neighbors and community members who are interested in setting up a neighborhood watch program. You will find that communities with large families and small children are extremely receptive to the idea.
- Set up an initial meeting for those interested in participating. It’s also a good idea to get in touch with the Durham police department and tell them you’re interested in setting up a neighborhood watch group. A law enforcement officer can inform you on how to best implement your program – if anyone is going to know how best to keep people safe, they will.
- During the initial meeting, you should also define the limits of your neighborhood and break up the community into distinct blocks. This gives you an idea of the overall area you will need to manage.
- Elect a chairman to supervise the program, organize meetings and enlist volunteers. Oftentimes, the ideal candidate for this position is a retired individual who is able to devote a sufficient amount of time to organizing and managing the group.
- Hold frequent meetings with Durham law enforcement personnel to share crime statistics, crime prevention tips and imminent threats. You will find that local law enforcement can be extremely helpful in the endeavor since it helps them do their job more efficiently, as well.
- Compile a distribution list of all residents with their home and email addresses. This way, you have an easy and effective way to disseminate information to everyone in the neighborhood. Make sure to update the list when families move in and out of the community.
Note: It’s a good idea to encourage everyone in the neighborhood to invest in a home security system. A high-quality alarm system is the best deterrent against not only burglary, but a host of other potential threats, as well. There are several home security providers that offer 24-hour home monitoring for a pretty modest price. Security Choice, for example, offers around-the-clock monitored protection from ADT for around $9 per week. Homes that have security and spread the word to neighbors provide less targets or opportunities for break-ins.