Neighbors Looking Out for Each Other
Neighborhood Watch is one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime. Since 1972, when the National Sheriff's Association implemented the program, Neighborhood Watch has meant neighbors looking out for each other, working on neighborhood problems, and making themselves safer. It forges the bonds among area residents. It helps reduces neighborhood crimes and creates a partnership between law enforcement and the community. Members learn how to work with law enforcement and report suspicious activity.
Any community resident can join a Neighborhood Watch - young or old, single or married, renter or homeowner. You can form a Neighborhood Watch for any area: apartment complex, community recreation center, housing tract, mobile home park, or park.
Neighborhood Watch groups are not vigilantes. They are extra eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors. It builds pride and serves as a springboard for efforts that address community needs.
Why Get Involved?
- Help reduce crime. Throughout the country, dramatic decreases in burglary and related offenses are reported by law enforcement professionals in communities with active watch programs.
- Help address neighborhood problems that concern you. Neighborhood Watch serves as a springboard for efforts that address concerns such as recreation for youth, child care, and traffic safety.
- Learn new skills and get experience using them. You'll learn crime prevention skills, including the ability to be the eyes and ears for law enforcement.
- Get your whole family involved. There is a role for everyone in Neighborhood Watch. Young children can pick up litter and take part in safety programs designed just for them. Older children can teach younger children how to stay safe. Retirees can operate telephone trees, write newsletters, and keep an eye out for daytime problems.
You Can Do It
Feel like you don't have the time? You don't have to take a leadership role. Offer to make a few phone calls. Show up at the community events even if you can't stay the whole time. As you go about your daily routine, observe your surroundings. It only takes a moment to notice something suspicious and report what you see.
Neighborhood Watch is also a wonderful way to get to know your neighbors and find people who share your interests. Knowing your neighbors also makes it easier to recognize strangers who may not have legitimate business on your street.
You're Part of the Answer
People like you are what makes a Neighborhood Watch program successful. Building a spirit of community helps keep all of you safer and more secure.
How To Get Started
- Form a planning committee. Keep it small and informal. Discuss the need for a Neighborhood Watch program.
- Call the Lake Forest Crime Prevention Specialist at (949) 461-3546 to set up a meeting date.
- Invite neighbors to a meeting. Publicize the meeting through flyers and door-to-door contact. Ask neighbors to share their concerns about crime.
- Promote group identity. Give your group a name. It can help create a sense of common purpose. You could wear special T-shirts or caps to further build group identity.
- Hold regular meetings. Neighborhood Watch meetings can cover a wide variety of topics. Keeping participants interested and informed is one of the main goals of maintaining a healthy program.