Pros and Cons of the Neighborhood Watch

Securing a Neighborhood Watch, or enhancing a current one, obliges a great deal of time and ingenuity. Notwithstanding, the results make your neighborhood more secure with practically no out-of-pocket cost.

As with all things, the Neighborhood Watch comes with its own pros and cons. Today’s ShieldWall Network article will be about the advantages and disadvantages of the Neighborhood Watch.

First, let’s discuss the pros. Neighborhood Watches are accumulations of individuals in the same neighborhood who normally watch the region, keep an eye on each other’s homes and report all suspicious movement to the nearby police office.

In a perfect world, the Watch members meet with some consistency just to associate with each other and offer data about what is going on in the area as of late.

The expanded vicinity of individuals watching the area makes it harder for criminals or vandals to wait there. When neighbors are acquainted with each other, they know the schedules of the individuals and houses around them.

Anything outside the standard, for example, a conveyance at an odd time or an unrecognized individual going up to a neighbor’s garage, triggers suspicion. The neighbors can then call the house or tell the police to investigate further. This likewise supports standardizing among neighbors, and possibly makes your home and neighborhood a more pleasant, friendlier spot to live.

The vicinity of Neighborhood Watch signs all through your neighborhood likewise alarm individuals to be on their best conduct when in your piece of town. Including the police office in your system additionally helps expand the nature of the relationship between your group and the local police division.

Now, let’s talk about some disadvantages of the Neighborhood Watch.

The time expenditure of beginning and keeping up a compelling Neighborhood Watch or group policing system is in some cases expensive. This is particularly true when the system is first beginning.

The system just works if numerous citizens from different parts of the neighborhood  are included in it and pulling their fair share. Contingent upon where you live, it is at times hard to get individuals involved on a consistent or long haul premise. The association with the police office likewise relies on upon the Watch members included.

You require a watch pioneer to serve as the reporter of the substance of the gathering to law enforcement authorities, and that individual must convey well and present themselves in an aware and expert manner to lend your gathering validity. Group policing projects are additionally proposed as avoidance based, sometimes going too far with that point. When a wrongdoing is in advancement, neighborhood citizens might not get involved outside of calling the local police division.

What do you think are some of the pros and cons of a Neighborhood Watch?

Paraphrased for The ShieldWall Network by Derek Paulson

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There Goes The Neighborhood.

Some neighborhoods experience less crime than others, but few neighborhoods are crime free. Even quiet, historically safe White communities are apt to face a crime threat at some point.

Our last few articles were dedicated to setting up your own modern-day Neighborhood Watch as a ShieldWall Network project. This piece will discuss more ways to keep your neighborhood safe.

First things first, you need to meet your neighbors. This can be as simple as baking a big batch of cookies and going door-to-door to introduce yourself. It might seem silly, but if you haven’t met them, today is the day!

If you aren’t comfortable doing something face-to-face, use a site like Nextdoor.com to meet your neighbors. Nextdoor is a private online environment designed specifically for helping neighbors connect with one another. Nextdoor has a strict address verification process so you can be sure your neighbors are legitimately your neighbors. Nearly 45,000 U.S. neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to connect, collaborate and help keep their neighborhoods safe.

Now that you know your neighbors, it’s time to get organized. Arrange a neighborhood meeting and talk about your concerns. A representative from your local law enforcement agency is probably more than happy to meet with the group, offer crime prevention tips and inform you what crimes have been occurring in the area. They can also suggest ways for residents in your neighborhood to work together to protect one another. Call your County Sheriff’s office to schedule one.

While you have a police officer on hand, find out which residents of your neighborhood help protect their homes with video surveillance cameras. Burglaries, hit and runs, petty thefts, and other neighborhood crimes may be picked up by video surveillance cameras in your community. Police can use this information to help track down criminals.

If crime becomes a problem, or your neighborhood wants to step up security before trouble starts, you may consider pooling resources and purchasing high-definition surveillance cameras. Post cameras at the entrance to your neighborhood so it can track the day, time, and license plate of any car that enters your community.

The Scott Creek neighborhood in Fremont, California was frustrated with the number of burglaries their community was experiencing, so they installed home security cameras. After this, they only experienced one burglary over the next 18 months. The tactic was so successful the Fremont Police Department now allows residents to register home security cameras with the department.

Neighbors who work together to help keep their communities safe enjoy the advantage of recognizing and solving small problems before they morph into more serious ones. Investing in a professional monitored home security system is another way to help protect your family from a range of dangers, including carbon monoxide poisoning, fire, and burglaries.

Paraphrased by Derek Paulson for The ShieldWall Network

The ShieldWall Network: Neighborhood Watch, Part 3.

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.

The ShieldWall Network: Neighborhood Watch

Recently, we’ve been discussing how members of The ShieldWall Network can become persons of influence in their community through, among other things, helping to establish a Neighborhood Watch program in their area.

For more than 40 years, Neighborhood Watch programs have been helping communities raise awareness and minimize crime. The program, originally started by the National Sherriff’s Association to help curb rising crime rates, is now an American institution.

Neighborhood Watch program benefits include crime reduction, better overall quality of life for community members, increased sense of personal control and responsibility for security, improved community unity and pride, and productive partnerships with local law enforcement.

Our last ShieldWall Network article covered phase one of starting your Neighborhood Watch, which is getting your neighbors excited and on-board with the Watch idea. This piece will discuss phase 2 of organizing your Watch, assigning and organizing responsibilities.

Elect a chairperson. Ask for block captain volunteers who are responsible for relaying information to members on their block, keeping up-to-date information on residents, and making special efforts to involve the elderly, working parents, and young people. Block captains also can serve as liaisons between the neighborhood and the police and communicate information about meetings and crime incidents to all residents.

Establish a regular means of communicating with Watch members—e.g., newsletter, telephone tree, e-mall, fax, etc. 

Prepare a neighborhood map showing names, addresses, and phone numbers of participating households and distribute to members. This will help you get to know your area, and your neighbors, which is a crucial part of The ShieldWall Network, as well. Block captains keep this map up to date, contacting newcomers to the neighborhood and rechecking occasionally with ongoing participants. 

With guidance from a law enforcement agency, the Watch trains its members in home security techniques, observation skills, and crime reporting. Residents also learn about the types of crime that affect the area.

If you are ready to post Neighborhood Watch signs, check with law enforcement to see if they have such eligibility requirements as number of houses that participate in the program. Law enforcement may also be able to provide your program with signs. If not, they can probably tell you where you can order them. 

Organizers and block captains must emphasize to the neophytes that Watch groups are not vigilantes and do not assume the role of the police. They only ask neighbors to be alert, observant, and caring—and to report suspicious activity or crimes immediately to the police. 

The Watch concept is adaptable. There are Park Watches, Apartment Watches, Window Watches, Boat Watches, School Watches, Realtor Watches, Utility Watches, and Business Watches. A Watch can be organized around any geographic unit. 

We all want to live in a safe, friendly place where we know we’ll be okay on an evening stroll, an early morning run, or while we dream the night away. But great neighborhoods just don’t happen – the people who live there pitch in to create the kind of place they enjoy living in.

Paraphrased from Derek Paulson of Prepared Patriot.