Neighborhood Watch Initiative (NWI)
Why Organize a Neighborhood Against Crime?
Crime and fear of crime threaten a community’s well-being. Crime may be right there scaring everyone off the streets, or just looming on the horizon. People become afraid to leave their homes, to use streets and parks or to walk through the neighborhood. Suspicion erupts between the young and old. Businesses gradually leave. Crime in turn feeds on the social isolation it creates. Today’s lifestyles -- many homes where both parents work, more single parent families, and greater job mobility -- can contribute to this isolation and weaken communities.
Neighbors can prevent or break this vicious cycle, and in the process, build their community into a safer, friendlier, and more caring place to live. Whatever your neighborhood is like, getting together to fight crime, violence, and drugs can help create communities where children can be children and people once isolated by crime and fear, can enjoy being a part of a thriving neighborhood.
The Neighborhood Watch program’s success is hinged on achieving and sustaining an appropriate level of community involvement to a point at which the neighborhood realizes a reduction and/or achieves prevention of residential burglaries and other residential area crime. Where they have been instituted, neighborhood watch programs have had a measurable effect of substantially reducing the fear of crime, encouraging crime reporting, stimulating members’ involvement in crime prevention, inhibiting drug trafficking, and spurring beautification activities. Statistics and criminals alike verify that when neighbors organize, the opportunity for crime is drastically reduced.
What Are the Goals of Neighborhood Watch?
The goals of Neighborhood Crime Watch are:
• To increase community awareness, enhance individuals’ power of observation, and encourage mutual assistance and concern among neighbors to reduce crime. The crimes normally targeted are burglary and other property crimes prevalent to neighborhoods. Groups can obtain information and assistance from police and other government agencies that can help to improve living conditions.
• To allow the concerns of the neighborhood to be presented in a unified voice to both the police department and to other governmental agencies. Groups can inform community leaders on programs and actions that the “people” support. When people work together as neighbors, they create a better place to live for all of them, as a genuine neighborhood.
• To develop a neighborhood action program where neighbors help each other by watching each other’s homes and reporting suspicious persons in their neighborhoods to the police department. They allow the police to train citizens on how to be pro-active by preventing crime and how to recognize and report criminal activities. Then if something suspicious occurs, you will know how to report it to the police and how to notify you neighbors, alerting them against further intrusion. With a heightened awareness and a “sense of community” achieved, criminals will find it much harder to work unnoticed in your area.
• To train citizens in various personal and physical security strategies and help them in making their home more secure. Most crimes are opportunistic and can be reduced or removed by simple crime prevention techniques. It provides the police a method to give the community information on home and personal security. The three main things a resident can do to reduce the risk of burglary are:
the proper use of good locks
participate in Operation Identification
participate in a Neighborhood Watch organization.
• Not only used as a strong tool to fight crime, but also as a strong social organization. They can also be utilized to engage citizens in other neighborhood projects.
• To promote awareness techniques and reporting crime but not the physical confrontation of criminals. Watch groups are not vigilantes and do not assume the role of the police. Citizens are only asked to be more alert, observant, and caring and to serve as extra eyes and ears for law enforcement.
• To constantly expand and change to meet the needs of the community.