Neighborhood Watch

Safety Education Unit Supervisor:
Ofc. Atchley
(256) 341-4660

The purpose of this information is to tell you how the Neighborhood Watch program works and how to organize and maintain a successful program. Neighborhood Watch was created to obtain citizen involvement in discouraging and preventing residential crime. The program uses citizen involvement to secure their own homes and personal property and to report any suspicious activity to the police.

Neighborhood Crime Fact

  • Burglary, auto theft, rape, child molestation, and arson are the most prevalent neighborhood crimes.
  • Household burglary is one of the easiest crimes to commit and prevent but one of the hardest to solve.
  • Over one-half of police time is spent on investigating burglaries.
  • Household burglary is one of the most rapidly increasing major crimes in the nation.
  • Most home burglars are young amateurs looking for easy targets.
  • Statistics show that in over one-half of household burglaries there was not any forced entry involved.
  • A majority of household burglaries occur during daylight hours.
  • Household burglary has a high potential for death or injury in cases where a burglar is surprised by the property owner.

How Neighborhood Watch Works

Neighborhood Watch operates to educate participants in the principles of deterrence, delay, and detection. The program depends on a communication network organized with three levels of participants – the resident, coordinator, and the Safety Education Unit. Vigilante actions are in no way condoned by the Neighborhood Watch Program. No one is asked to take personal risks.

Organizing A Program

  • Contact the Safety Education Unit for an appointment to discuss setting boundaries for your neighborhood watch area.
  • Neighborhood Watch Coordinators visit each home in their area telling residents that they are interested in discouraging crime in the neighborhood by forming a Neighborhood Watch. Neighborhood Watch Coordinators ask for help towards this goal by inviting residents to attend the meetings.
  • Neighborhood Watch Coordinator contacts the Safety Education Unit for dates and time for large area meeting.
  • Residents attend a meeting and learn about home security, property identification, and explanation of the Neighborhood Watch concept.

Program Duties

Since awareness and involvement are the keys to a successful program, keeping interest high and continuing the group’s crime prevention education must be a primary focus of all participants.  Specific duties include:

Neighborhood Watch Coordinator

  • Organize 10-15 homes in a given area by:
    1. Contacting residents about Neighborhood Watch meeting.
    2. Organizing private social media pages for Neighborhood Watch residents to distribute information.
  • Contact new residents about the Neighborhood Watch Program.
  • Disseminate any special information to homes such as crime patterns in the area, homeowners that are on vacation, or attending a function listed in the newspaper such as a wedding or a funeral.
  • Coordinate overall organization of Neighborhood Watch Program in a designated area by:
    • Scheduling a neighborhood meeting for the entire area.

Resident

  • Attend the Neighborhood Watch meeting.
  • Participate in the Property Identification Program by marking your personal property.
  • Be alert to suspicious activity and report it to the Police Department immediately. Then, post to your neighborhood’s private Neighborhood Watch social media pages to make your community aware.
  • Have your newspaper and mail picked up when away.
  • Inform your neighbors  if you plan to be away so that special attention can be given to your home.

Neighborhood Watch is a proven crime reduction program. But like any self help activity, its success depends upon you and your neighbor.

For further assistance, contact the Safety Education Unit at (256) 341-4660.

THE CITY OF OPPORTUNITY