How To: Start A Neighbourhood Watch

A neighbourhood watch is a group of neighbours who look out for each other and report suspicious actions to the police; working together with law enforcement officers to keep their community safe.  Here are some steps to form a group:

  • Get as much information as possible from relevant authorities with regard to legal responsibilities for starting a neighbourhood watch
  • Hold a preliminary meeting to hear neighbours’ interests and concerns and also to establish the purpose of the programme
  • Form a small committee to discuss needs, possible challenges and the concept of the watch
  • Form crucial partnerships with law enforcement officers.  Training from the police and help with recruitment can help to ensure the success of the group
  • Select a place that is easily accessible to everyone in the community, especially residents with disabilities
  • Invite law enforcement officers or a member from a local crime prevention organization to attend your meetings
  • Neighbourhoods may be divided into streets which can each be assigned a leader
  • Develop a communication network to relay information to residents about crime and security
  • Announce/publicize meetings at least one week in advance with door-to-door fliers and follow-up phone calls the day before
  • Make use of local media groups to publicize the successes of the group
  • Consider linking with an existing organization such as the citizens association, community development office, tenants association, housing authority
  • Get everyone involved including children, teens and the elderly

For more information about forming a neighbourhood watch group you can visit the nearest police station or speak with a member of a local crime prevention organization.  Information is also available at the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC).

This information appeared as a feature in The Gleaner