Many community members feel secure in knowing that they know most if not all of their neighbors, and may easily recognize any strangers who may be lurking around the neighborhood. Unfortunately, you can’t always rely on our personal eyes to evaluate the safety of the community, which is why The Neighborhood Watch program is so effective. It gets residents to participate in crime prevention, as they are the ones who spend the most time in the community and know what is normally happening.
Following requests from police nationwide for a citizen crime prevention program, the National Sheriffs’ Association founded the National Neighborhood Watch Program in 1972. The program is open for community participation by anyone who wishes to protect and lower crime within their neighborhood. Those with strong leadership skills are encouraged to take roles of responsibility such as those of Chairperson to act as a liaison between the police department and the neighborhood, or as Block Captains who oversee the flow of information amongst their neighbors, and the Chairperson. Residents are also an important part of the Watch, as they observe the community and notify their Block Captain of suspicious activity.
Residents in the community can work with the police department to reduce crime and to improve the quality of life, which is something that money could truly not buy. This program allows residents in the community to take on a leadership role and accept responsibility for their community. By having the community comes together to discuss their concerns, this will lead to developing a plan of action that addresses those concerns. While in a perfect world this program would ideally completely create a perfectly safe neighborhood, we unfortunately do not live in one. Therefore we must stress a few things that this program certainly is not. The Watch does not operate in any manner that does not conform with the standard of procedures of law enforcement, nor should anyone take personal risks when attempting to prevent a crime. And as stated above, this program is not a miracle; there is no way to prevent one hundred percent of crime, but a reduction of the crime rate is certainly within reach.