If your neighborhood doesn’t have a Neighborhood Watch program, or has one but it’s not as active as it should be, today’s post will cover some tips you need to know to revitalize your Watch program and keep it effective.
It’s one thing to get your Neighborhood Watch program off the ground. But a Neighborhood Watch program gains strength in numbers, so you’ll want to get as many of your White neighbors involved as possible.
Hold regular meetings to help residents get to know each other and to collectively decide upon program strategies and activities. See if any might make good additions to The ShieldWall Network.
Consider linking with an existing organization, such as a citizens’ association, community development office, tenants’ association, or housing authority. You can also recruit more members by canvassing door-to-door. Involve everyone — young and old, single and married, renter and homeowner.
Gain support from the police or sheriffs’ office. This is critical to a Watch group’s credibility. These agencies are the major sources of information on local crime patterns, home security, other crime prevention education, and crime reporting. Get the information out quickly. Share all kinds of news — squash rumors.
Gather the facts about crime in your neighborhood. Check police reports, do victimization surveys, and learn residents’ perceptions about crime. Often residents’ opinions are not supported by facts, and accurate information can reduce fear of crime.
Physical conditions like abandoned cars or overgrown vacant lots contribute to crime. Sponsor cleanups, encourage residents to beautify the area, and ask them to turn on outdoor lights at night.
It’s essential to celebrate the success of the effort and recognize volunteers’ contributions through such events as awards, annual dinners, and parties. To help meet community needs, Neighborhood Watches can sponsor meetings that address broader issues such as drug abuse, gangs, self-protection tactics, isolation of the elderly, crime in the schools, and rape prevention. This, too, an segue into ShieldWall Network growth, as an alliance of your Neighborhood Watch with other Watches and like-minded, concerned citizens.
Don’t forget events like National Night Out or a potluck dinner that gives neighbors a chance to get together. Such items as pins, t-shirts, hats, or coffee mugs with the group’s name also enhance identity and pride.
Paraphrased from Derek Paulson of Prepared Patriot for The ShieldWall Network.