What is Neighborhood Watch?
Neighborhood Watch is a crime-prevention program that brings community members together and teaches them how to make their
neighborhoods safer by using basic crime prevention techniques and identifying and reporting suspicious activity. Supported
by the National Sheriffs' Association since 1972, the program encourages residents to act as the "eyes and ears" of local
law enforcement and to take steps to make their homes and property less vulnerable to break-ins and vandalism. Many Neighborhood Watch programs are also a means to prepare neighbors to work as a team in planning responses to disasters.
Not all of the programs in place today are limited to the boundaries and tenets of "Neighborhood Watch"; variations include
block watch, apartment watch, home watch, citizen alert and community watch. However, each adaptation shares the common goal
of bringing community members together to fight crime.
Neighborhood Watch programs vary in size of the area covered: Some cover just a few households, others cover thousands of
homes. Volunteers who donate time and resources are typically at the center of programs because many do not have formal budgets
or funding sources. Most are started with assistance from law enforcement.
Programs typically use street signs to show the program's presence and deter potential offenders, alerting them that the risk
of detection and apprehension has increased. Some also offer programs that target youth, such as athletic activities, drug
programs and tutoring, to provide young people with alternative and positive activities. For more information on Neighborhood
Watch, go to www.USAOnWatch.org Exit Notice.
Date Created: June 15, 2009