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 encourage residents to join together and be aware of activities around them in their daily lives.
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, coworkers and students form an active majority against the minority of wrongdoing 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.
To find out more about Neighborhood Watch, find the Crime Prevention Officer in your area.