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Eyes Wide Open

October 27, 2014

Chickasha Police Department
8 mins ·
12 Tips on Building a Neighborhood Watch

1) Make a plan.
Form a planning committee; talk with neighbors to see who will participate in the creation of a watch. Tour the area as a group and identify any issues of concern.

2) Partner with Police
Speak with the local law enforcement agencies and fire department to explain your plan. Invite them to your meeting as they may be able to explain how you can better cooperate with them in reporting crime or health concerns. You may obtain crime statistics and crime prevention tactics to employ in your neighborhood. Conduct training sessions to teach members how to spot and report suspicious activities.

3) Get the word out
Set a time, date and meeting place for the first meeting. Create printed materials to hand out in your watch area. Use social media or newspaper and radio sources if desired.

4) Map out an area
Decide on the watch boundaries. Use a physical map that highlights landmarks, street names, schools or parks in the area.

5) Set clear goals
Examples: reduction of vandalism or drug activity. Make the goal you set our first priority. Never try to confront or capture a crime suspect! Use a cell phone to record the activity and call the Police.

6) Establish leadership
Hold elections or ask for volunteers to fill leadership roles. Establish a watch coordinator, block captains and law enforcement liaison. You can also form small task force groups within the larger group to address specific issues.

7) Create a communication plan
Organize the names, phone numbers, email address and or social media contact information for the group. In emergencies, have a go to person to be responsible for notification of the group members. This can be accomplished very easily by Group text message or post to a Facebook site for the group.

8) Teach watch members to be on the lookout
You are the eyes and ears of your watch group. Watch for people hanging around empty houses or running with valuables in their possession. Watch for vehicles that repeatedly circle the area and don’t belong there. Large volume, short duration foot and vehicle traffic to a residence could indicate drug use or sales.

9) Develop reporting policies to keep members safe
Neighborhood watch groups are not vigilante groups. Contact Law enforcement by using 911 in an emergency or give your member the non-emergency contact number to keep on hand. Use it when no emergency exists and you only have a suspicion something criminal is about to occur.

10) Organize activities
Your group efforts can help neighbors feel more safe and in control. You can gain a sense of renewed pride in your neighborhood. You might consider coordinating: Clean up days to remove trash or graffiti, Invite public safety to conduct training sessions for safety, crime prevention, first aid or emergency preparedness. Organize dinners for the group. If you know who belongs in your neighborhood, you will know who does not belong!

11) Keep everyone involved
Hold regular meetings to discuss successes and failures. Create a website or newsletter to get your plans out to members or recruit more members.

12) Seek assistance from your local government
Know the rules about posting neighborhood watch materials or signs. Ask for ex-patrol and be prepared to justify why your area needs it. Give specific details on your concerns. Never take law enforcement into your own hands. If members get injured, the watch is not successful. If you want more information on neighborhood watches, go to https://www.NNW.org

Be Safe

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