What is a Neighborhood Watch?
Simply stated it is a group of people working together to protect their neighborhood. They agree to keep an eye out of each other, suspicious activities, suspicious people and suspicious vehicles.
To expand on that statement, a Neighborhood Watch is a volunteer effort to obtain residents involvement in discouraging and preventing crime. It uses the residents of a targeted area (street, neighborhood, complex, geographic area, etc.) to help them secure their homes and to report suspicious activity. It establishes a network of communication between the residents themselves.
By joining or forming a Watch you can keep each other informed about what is going on in your neighborhood.
It can be attached to an existing group such as a Condo Board or Neighborhood Association.
The police do not run the program. It is actually run by its members with an elected or volunteered “block captain” who obtains each members names, phone numbers, email, contact info, etc. and ensures that information is passed on from members. Usually, the “block captain” will have a designated contact person in the police department who ensures that relevant crime information is passed onto the “block captain”. The “block captain”, in turn, passes into the members. It is up to the group to decide how often they will meet. It may be as little as once year.
What are the first steps toward staring a Watch?
1) define what area will be in the “neighborhood”
2) secure a meeting spot (house, yard, public building, town hall, etc.)
3) identify crime in your neighborhood (provided by the Hingham Police)
4) connect with the designated police contact to arrange for assistance
5) recruit neighbors to join
6) stay active (a big challenge for new Watch groups)
Misconceptions about Neighborhood Watch Programs:
-it is a neighborhood patrol (it is watching out and reporting activities to the police, not patrolling)
-the Neighborhood Watch signs will prevent all crime (it is a warning to criminals that the residents have taken steps to protect their neighborhood and that they are probably being watched)
-the police will keep a data base of my email, home phone, family information (only the specific
Neighborhood Watch members keep that information, it does not get relayed to the police)
-it is a vigilante force of citizens (you help the police by reporting suspicious activity)
-it will make your neighborhood 100% crime free
Neighborhood Watch is a Crime Prevention Program that:
-teaches residents techniques to reduce chances of being victimized at home, work or in public
-teaches residents how to make their homes more secure
-encourages them to mark, photograph and identify their property to aid in its recovery (if stolen)
-allows neighbors to get to know each other and knowing each others routines so that any activity
can be recognized, reported and investigated by the police
-develops a cohesive body of citizens who address other neighborhood concerns (beyond police
matters such as community issues or neighborhood quality of life issues)
What are the benefits of Neighborhood Watch?
-it reduces the risk of becoming a victim (participants have taken proactive steps to reduce their
chances of becoming victims)
-makes participants better prepared to recognized and report suspicious activity because they
are more aware of what the police need when a crime is reported
-allows greater access to criminal activity information and crime trends
-receive Neighborhood Watch sign for the area. It announces that the neighborhood is not an easy target
-allows you to get to know your neighbors and their routines so you can quickly recognize any
activity that is suspicious
-reduces fear of crime (eliminates unfounded rumors/reports of criminal activity)
-opens the door to addressing other needs the neighborhood group feels the need to address
Thanks for your interest and concern about Neighborhood Watch and Crime Prevention in our community. Working together we can make a difference in Hingham. For more information please contact the Hingham Police to Sgt. David Horte (voicemail 781-804-2237) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org .