Responding to rising crime rates in the late 1960’s The National Sheriff’s Association organized the National Neighborhood Watch Program. Since 1972 Neighborhood Watch has become one of the oldest and best-known crime prevention concepts in North America. It has also has become one of the most effective means of fighting crime in our communities. This is because it relies on you and your neighbor to provide a watchful eye on your neighborhood. Who really know what is going on in your area? Who is more likely to be the first to see a crime and call for help, and are in the best position to: (1) Report code violations, unsafe street conditions, etc. that degrade the quality of life in your area, (2) Take property owners to small claims court to abate nuisances, (3) Keep your block clean and free of graffiti, and (4) Provide a safe environment for your children. This program empowers you take control of your neighborhood.
What Is Neighborhood Watch? Neighborhood Watch is a crime prevention program that enlists the active participation of residents in cooperation with law enforcement to reduce crime, solve problems, and improve the quality of life in your area. In it you will get to know and work with your neighbors, and learn how to:
- Recognize and report crimes and suspicious activities,
- Protect yourself, your family, and your property,
- Protect your neighbor’s family and property, and
- Identify crime and disorder problems in your area and work with Oakley Police Dept. personnel to solve them.
So how do I start one in my neighborhood? There is a manual online that has at great deal of information. You may want to reference it before getting started. The following is from the manual.
Starting a Neighborhood Watch Group
You’ve heard about the benefits of Neighborhood Watch participation. You suspect—or know—that there is a crime problem in your area. How do you get a program started in your neighborhood?
Form a small planning committee of neighbors to discuss needs, the level of interest, and possible problems. Decide on a date and place for an initial Neighborhood Watch meeting.
Contact your local law enforcement agency. Request that a crime prevention officer come to a meeting of your group in the near future to discuss Neighborhood Watch and help assess your community’s problems and needs. Inquire about crime statistics for your area, but bear in mind that crime is typically underreported. Ask that the officer bring to your meeting a list of local and national contacts that will assist you in organizing and keeping your program going along with samples of Neighborhood Watch signs, decals, and literature.
Contact as many of your neighbors as possible, asking them:
- If they feel at risk of being burglarized or being the victim of other crimes;
- If they have taken any steps to protect their homes; and
- If they would be willing to attend a meeting to organize a Neighborhood Watch group in your area. You may be surprised to learn how many of your neighbors’ lives have already been touched by crime!
If you are interested in setting up a Neighborhood Watch program in your area call Oakley PD at 625-8855