With crime rates on the rise in many cities throughout the United States, more communities are opting to creating neighborhood watch systems. A neighborhood watch is a great way to keep even low-crime neighborhoods safe, but it is important that individuals who start such a group follow particular guidelines, in order to ensure it’s safe and effective. Aside from the presence of top home security systems, a neighborhood watch can be one of the best ways to prevent crime from occurring.
1. Work with local police departments before creating a neighborhood watch. Professionals can answer any questions about home security that watch members may have, and help develop plans for security that will be effective, but also follow local laws. Police officers can also provide valuable tips regarding reporting crimes and suspicious information, and how to assist potential victims.
2. Get as many members of the community involved as possible. A strong neighborhood watch is extremely reliant on dedicated volunteers. Recruit members using a variety of methods, including door-to-door canvassing, social media and emails. It’s also a good idea to have watch members on duty at night, but also during the day. Daytime watch could be completed by stay-at-home moms, or individuals who work from home.
3. Member meetings and strong communication is very important. During meetings and through the exchange of information, watch members can voice concerns and create methods to improve the effectiveness of the watch group. During meetings, professionals and community figures can also speak to the group and offer tips and advice.
4. Use social media. It’s always a good idea for a neighborhood watch to remain organized through the creation of social media accounts that can alert the community of any news, updates, or even suspicious activity that may be occurring. Social media accounts can also be used to notify the community of upcoming events and meetings.
5. Work with businesses and organizations in the community to build a stronger neighborhood watch. A neighborhood watch doesn’t have to be entirely dependent on the individuals who live in a community—churches and small businesses can also become involved, which will strengthen the community overall, not just in terms of crime prevention