In everyday life we are burdened with choices influenced by our safety and the security of the environment around us.  Residents change plans, parents and children are avoiding places due to risk levels in terrorism and the threat of crime and fear of crime is ever present in our daily lives.  Community policing philosophy has been introduced in every part of this country along with the Presidents initiative for volunteerism.  The neighborhood watch program is part of the vehicle to provide that philosophy to our community.  Our hope is to provide the officer with the necessary material, forms and presentations to enlighten, empower and emancipate residents to take a working part in the safety and security of our communities.

Neighborhood Watch, Block Watch, Town Watch, Crime Watch -- or whatever name it may be called by is one of the most successful and effective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear of crime in our communities.  Watch programs fight the isolation and separation that crime creates and feeds upon.  It gorges bonds among area residents and businesses, helps reduce burglaries and robberies, and improves relations between police and the communities they serve.  Neighborhood watch becomes a corner stone of prevention strategies.  The program is pioneered by law enforcement agencies that educate residents regarding their roles and responsibility in preventing of crime and encourages them to take active measures to prevent crime.  The program calls upon resident's to step forward and assist the police in organizing the community into a cohesive unit working toward the goal of building a safe, crime free neighborhood.  Watch groups discuss crime problems with the objective of developing solutions to local programs.  Officer supplies crime information to watch organizations and instruct these groups in various crime prevention techniques.

History of Neighborhood Watch

In the 1700's England's Sir Henry Fielding established the first responsible police organization with two goals:

Stamp out crime, and prevent outbreak of crime in the future.
In order to achieve these goals Fielding identified three objectives.
  1. Develop a cohesive police force
  2. Organize active citizens groups
  3. Take action to remove causes of crime and conditions in which it flourished

The 1829 Metropolitan Police Act, in England, was based primarily on the efforts of Sir Robert Peel in the area of crime prevention.  The manual stated: It should be understood at the outset, that the principle objective to be achieved is the prevention of crime.  To this great end, every effort of the police is to be directed to the security of person and property: the preservation of public tranquility and all of the other objectives of a police establishment will thus be better affected by preventing than by the detection and punishment of the offender after he has succeeded in committing crime.

In 1972, the United States saw the formation of the first active crime prevention program, Neighborhood Watch, developed by the National Sheriff Association, and featured "Boris the Burglar".  In keeping with the strategies of Henry Fielding this program continues the idea citizens must be active in the community and become the eyes and ears of police and the guardians of voluntary compliance of the law and the understanding of citizens working with law enforcement through community policing concepts.

The theory of COP

Philosophy and theory of community oriented policing "Normative Sponsorship Theory" state most people are of good will and that they will cooperate with others to facilitate the building of consensus.  The more various groups share common values, beliefs, and goals, the more likely it is that they will agree on common goals when they interact together for the purpose of improving their neighborhood.

The "Critical Social Theory" focuses on how and why people coalesce to correct and overcome the social economic and political obstacles that prevent them from having their needs met.  The three core ideas of critical social theory are:

Enlightenment, people must become educated about their circumstances before they can lobby for change.
Empowerment, people must take action to improve their conditions.
Emancipation, people can achieve liberation through reflection and social actions.

Both Community Policing and Crime Prevention empower residents by giving them input in the policing process to take a stand against crime and improve their neighborhoods and communities.

In 2001 the President ask the nation to participate in Homeland Security by volunteerism.  One of his strategy efforts is the Neighborhood Watch program. To bolster this initiative we also offer information on Citizen Corp and Volunteers in Police Services.  Citizens and law enforcement agencies collaborating to make our nation strong and safe support all programs.
10 Beliefs of Crime Prevention
  1. Crime prevention is everyone's business
  2. Crime prevention is more than security
  3. Crime prevention is a responsibility of all levels of government
  4. Crime prevention is linked with solving social problems
  5. Crime prevention is cost-effective
  6. Crime prevention requires a central position in law enforcement
  7. Crime prevention requires cooperation by all elements of a community
  8. Crime prevention requires education, continual testing and improvement
  9. Crime prevention requires tailoring to local needs and conditions
  10. Crime prevention improves the quality of life for every community residents.
In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the need for strengthening and securing our communities has become even more critical and Neighborhood Watch groups have taken on a greater significance.  In addition to serving a crime prevention role, Neighborhood Watch can also be used as the basis for bringing neighborhood residents together to focus on disaster preparedness as well as terrorism awareness; to focus on evacuation drills and exercises; and even to organize group training, such as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.

Neighborhood Watch takes a degree of commitment on the part of citizens.  It requires meetings, patrols and other activities.  When the crime rate in the areas with Neighborhood Watch decreases it is because of those who have given their time and energy to the project.

Each day, crime and the fear of crime threaten communities.  Residents change their plans and lifestyles based on the fear of going out after dark.  Parents and children are afraid to use local parks where criminals meet, and businesses refuse to put shops in areas they believe are unsafe.  It often seems as if nothing can be done to make neighborhoods safer places to live and work.

But something can be done.  Neighborhood Watches and community mobilization offer citizens the ability to work with law enforcement to prevent, and rid neighborhoods of vandalism and crime.  Proven to be one of the most effective and least costly answers to crime.  Neighborhood Watches encourages residents to join together and be aware of activities around them in their daily lives.

Why do Residents Mobilize?
  • To get something done about an immediate problem
  • To problem solve on future goals
  • To gather resources for community needs
  • To improve the quality of life in their community

Today, citizens are assuming an even greater role in helping law enforcement to protect and serve them.  Community policing, where law enforcement and residents work together to solve issues involving crime and social concerns, improves the quality of life in a community. Citizens and law enforcement problem solve to identify underlying reasons for problems and then develop strategies for resolving and preventing the problems in the future.  As a full partner in community policing, the community supports law enforcement, and in turn is given more responsibility and participation in the policing process.

Neighborhood Watches are one of the original foundations of community policing, and are referred to as the EYES AND EARS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT.  Members look out for neighbors and their property and report suspicious activities to law enforcement.  By doing so, citizens are better served and protected in their neighborhoods.

But Neighborhood Watches are more than looking out for suspicious activity in neighborhoods. Through community mobilization, neighbors, businesses, co-workers and students form an active majority against the minority of wrong doing in the community.  Watches allow individuals who often don't know their own neighbors the opportunity to discover the common interests and priorities they share, and protect themselves, their families and homes in a reasonable way.

Through mobilization, neighbors also become less fearful of crime.  Residents work to prevent the possibility of crime in the area, and develop a sense that something is finally being done to make their community safer.  Mobilization brings residents, knowledge, resources and energy together to form a partnership against crime to meet community needs.

A Neighborhood Watch is NOT:
  • Vigilante Groups
  • Citizens Pursuing Criminals, or becoming Physically involved in the Criminal Event.
  • Taking the Law into your own hands

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Jason Rector,
May 4, 2014, 2:24 PM
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Jason Rector,
May 4, 2014, 2:25 PM
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Jason Rector,
May 4, 2014, 2:23 PM
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Jason Rector,
May 4, 2014, 2:23 PM
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Jason Rector,
May 4, 2014, 2:21 PM
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Jason Rector,
May 4, 2014, 2:20 PM
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Jason Rector,
May 4, 2014, 2:19 PM
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Jason Rector,
May 4, 2014, 2:18 PM