Monday, March 5, 2012

Taking Crime Prevention One Step Further: Expanding the Role of Neighborhood Watch

One of the worst problems that can plague a Neighborhood Watch program is complacency. Residents become used to a safe neighborhood and begin to ignore threats to their community. Oftentimes, a specific crime or incident is what led to the formation of a crime watch program and once that threat is removed, people have tendency to slip back into their previous routines.

Do not let this happen to your community. There are many ways to keep the interests of your fellow residents and prevent them from sliding back into complacency.  

One Small Step at a Time
Now that you have formed a Neighborhood Watch program, it is imperative to continue your efforts and be vigilant about sustaining interest in the group’s activities. By branching out and expanding the role of neighbors in the community, you can increase your chances of being an active crime watch group and protecting your neighborhood from crime.

Increase your Neighborhood Watch profile by engaging your area residents. Here are some tips to develop a more comprehensive program within your community.
  • Area Specific: Instead of having one large Neighborhood Watch program for your community, break up into smaller groups for more effective management. You can form specific street groups to provide more hands-on control of crime and community interest. Also, this allows for the sub-groups to make easy contact with any new homeowners who move into the area and they can be responsible for inviting them into the Neighborhood Watch program.
  • Community Projects: Expand your Neighborhood Watch program to include activities that will unite and engage residents. Other crime watch programs have had success with food drive programs for the homeless, collecting toys and clothes for underprivileged children at Christmas, and sponsoring the local group home by providing toiletry items.  Diversification is key! Having other outlets to unite residents creates a strong common bond and can lead to improved communication and more importantly, to a successful Neighborhood Watch program.   
  • Disaster Preparedness Programs: Another possible avenue to facilitate unity and promote communication between neighbors is organizing a community disaster preparedness program. Crime watch and disaster preparedness go hand-in-hand. The training you receive from crime watch programs are similar to what is needed for disaster preparedness. Neighborhood Watch volunteers will know where the elderly and handicapped residents live should there be a disaster and what actions should be taken in an emergency situation.   
  • Thank You Very Much: A kind word, thoughtful gesture, and personal recognition go a long way in motivating and encouraging residents. Plan an annual or bi-annual event to recognize residents who have contributed to maintaining a great neighborhood. Also, you can pick up a small gift card to say thanks.
Welcome Aboard
Taking charge and determining your course of action is the first step toward enjoying a better neighborhood. The choices you make within your local area can impact positively upon your neighbors and other areas that can see how your efforts make a difference!

No comments:

Post a Comment