Start a Neighborhood Watch

In a nearby neighborhood, kids were playing ball when a foul ball ended up in the bushes. When a boy went to recover the ball he found a loaded handgun in the bushes. Fortunately, this kid was smart enough to handle it in a way that nobody got hurt.

Even the best and most secure neighborhoods have criminals lurking.

We know homes with security alarms and home security cameras are certainly more secure than homes that aren’t properly equipped. But what good is all the security in the world if the neighborhood you live in is a combat zone? Quality of life suffers while you are in your fortress. But there are comprehensive solutions to a safer and more secure community. One of the most effective strategies available to any community is a neighborhood watch.

A neighborhood watch (also called a crime watch or neighborhood crime watch) is an organized group of citizens devoted to crime and vandalism prevention within a neighborhood. In the United States it builds on the concept of a town watch from Colonial America.

A neighborhood watch may be organized as its own group or may simply be a function of a neighborhood association or other community association.

Neighborhood watches are not vigilante organizations. When suspecting criminal activities, members are encouraged to contact authorities and not to intervene.

Objectives of a Neighborhood Watch

· To prevent crime by improving security, increasing vigilance, creating and maintaining a caring community and reducing opportunities for crime by increasing crime prevention awareness.

· To assist the police in detecting crime by promoting effective communication and the prompt reporting of suspicious and criminal activity.

· To reduce undue fear of crime by providing accurate information about risks and by promoting a sense of security and community spirit, particularly amongst the more vulnerable members of the community.

· To improve police/community liaison by providing effective communications through Neighborhood Watch messaging systems which warn Co-coordinators of local crime trends which they can disseminate to their scheme members, and by members informing the police of incidents when they occur.

If you are a self starter and concerned about the quality of life in your community then take some initiative and engage your fellow residents in a comprehensive strategy to make your community safer. Start by knocking on doors with residents who you have a relationship with. Once repore is established determine who they also have relationships with. Then create buzz amongst other civic minded residents and begin to assemble your team.

Involve the local police as they often have systems in place ready for neighborhood adoption.

Arrange a monthly meeting of like minded residents and establish a quorum.

Distribute home safety tips to all those in attendance and in the mailboxes of those who can’t make a monthly meeting. Make suggesting such as fixing broken windows, keeping properties free of debris, locking doors and making investments in home security systems.

It’s inevitable that crime is going to happen, but it’s also possible to gain a degree of control over your neighborhood that makes it difficult for a bad guy to do his job.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Home Security on NBC Boston. Disclosures.

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