Working Together To Prevent Crime

August 24th, 2009

neighborhoodwatchsignYou come home after a long day at work, a fun night out or an exciting vacation, and immediately know something isn’t right. When you get to your front door you see why; someone has broken into your house. Few things are as personally invasive and demoralizing as a home burglary.

It’s a sad fact, but crime is on the rise all over the United States. When times are tough economically, criminal activity generally increases. So how do you protect your home, property and family members? One of the best things you can do is work with your neighbors to prevent crime.

The Neighborhood Watch Program was established by the National Sheriffs’ Association in 1972 to help citizens protect themselves and each other from criminals. Since then the program has grown and become very well respected, but the success of any neighborhood watch depends entirely on the effort that people put into it. With a little time and patience, it’s easy to create a beneficial watch group.  Here’s how you can get started:

Step 1: Talk to your neighbors and generate interest. Explain how you can all work together to prevent crime and keep people safe. Set a date for a meeting to discuss establishing a crime watch group, and invite everyone to attend and participate.

Step 2: Contact the local police and let them know you are forming a neighborhood watch. Law enforcement offers are in favor of these crime prevention programs, because they help keep the entire community safe. They will usually have tips, suggestions and advice on how you can get started and build your group. In most cases a representative from the police station will be willing to come speak at your meeting and answer questions.

Step 3: Hold your first meeting and give everyone time to mingle and get to know each other. Consider starting with a potluck or providing refreshments to encourage people to socialize. Get started on time, and make sure everyone has a chance to voice his or her opinion and concerns, but try to keep the meeting short and on topic. Pick a crime watch block captain who will help organize the group and be a direct contact person with the police.

Step 4: Ask the members of your neighborhood watch to exchange contact information. Trade phone numbers to start a telephone tree and share email addresses so everyone can stay connected. Make sure the people in your group understand they have a commitment to watch out for each other and report suspicious activity. For example, if someone sees a stranger driving up and down the block or watching a particular house, they should notify the neighbors. It’s important to keep everyone aware of a potential problem, but always call the police to report an actual burglary or any other type of crime.

Step 5: Make sure that people know your group exists; talk to an officer about setting up crime watch street signs on your block. This shows criminals that the people in your area are looking out for lawbreakers. Criminals prefer easy opportunities where they won’t be seen by anyone, so if they know you’re watching they will be likely to move on.

Working together is a great way to prevent crime in your community. You can also help determine how safe your neighborhood is by searching for registered sex offenders who live near you, or finding out if any convicted criminals are close by. Stay safe; take care of each other, and thank you for reading the PeopleFinders.com People Search blog.

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