About Neighborhood Watches
Neighborhood Watch is a community-based crime prevention program where neighbors look out for each other’s safety, property and homes in a systematic and sustained way. It is based on the idea that when residents, businesses, clergy, police and other partners look out for the safety of the neighborhood, establish and maintain open lines of communication, and collaborate to resolve problems of crime and disorder, they create safer, friendlier and healthier neighborhoods.
Why Start a Neighborhood Watch?
Crime Prevention and Communication Links
By establishing and using communication networks such as phone trees and listservs, residents can alert police and one another of crimes in progress, suspicious activity, and neighborhood concerns. By working with police, community leaders and other agencies, Neighborhood Watch members can identify crime trends and patterns, such as a series of robberies or burglaries, and alert their neighbors to take crime prevention steps.
Disaster Preparedness and Terrorism Alerts
Neighborhood Watch also serves as a communication link for disaster preparedness and terrorism alerts. Since September 11, 2001, the ongoing threat of terrorism has necessitated community residents as well as police to look out for suspicious activities of terrorism. Hurricane Katrina — which devastated New Orleans in 2005 — illustrated the importance of establishing effective communication and collaboration networks within communities, such as a Neighborhood Watch program.
- Download the Department of Justice's Neighborhood Watch Training Manual [PDF]
- Tips for Reducing and Preventing Crimes of Opportunity [PDF]