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Rules and Information About Neighborhood Watch

    Definition

    • Citizens around the nation have formed Neighborhood Watch groups, sometimes called crime watch groups, dedicated to preventing crime and vandalism in their communities. Group members are not vigilantes; the goal is crime prevention through education and organization, reporting crimes to the police when they occur.

    History

    • Neighborhood Watch groups began forming in the United States in the late 1960s in response to an increase in rape and murder. Often, these crimes went unreported and citizens were left wondering what they could do to prevent crime in their neighborhoods. Communities formed groups to watch over their neighborhoods and report suspicious activities to the police. In 1972, the National Sheriffs' Association began a nationwide effort to expand these groups.

    USAonWatch

    • USAonWatch is the national Neighborhood Watch program founded by the National Sheriffs' Association. The sheriffs' association has been working with communities for more than 35 years to organize and train Neighborhood Watch groups. The emphasis is on teaching citizens to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement.

      The association provides training for volunteers, including information on crime prevention principles, partnerships and how to conduct effective meetings. Citizens are also shown how to secure residential property, making it less vulnerable to break-ins.

    Starting a Neighborhood Watch Program

    • To start a Neighborhood Watch program in your community, first talk to local law enforcement officials. Many law enforcement agencies will be willing to send a representative to meet with a committee of neighbors to discuss forming a watch group. They will be able to give you the information and tools you need to get started.

    Neighborhood Watch Tool Kit

    • The National Sheriffs' Association, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, provides a Neighborhood Watch tool kit that contains important resources to help start your own group. The kit includes CDs to help people learn community watch skills, facilitator handbooks to use in connection with Neighborhood Watch, and flip books with information on how to conduct effective meetings.

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