The Neighborhood Watch Program first began being used in 1972. It was created to organize citizens and let citizens work with law enforcement to keep a trained eye and ear on their communities, while demonstrating their presence at all times of day and night. (The program took off quickly, in just ten years, the National Security Agency (NSA) data showed that 12 percent of the U.S. population was involved in a Neighborhood Watch.) Neighborhood Watches work because they reduce opportunities for crime to occur; they don't rely on altering or changing a criminal's behavior or motivation.
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What is Neighborhood Watch?
Neighborhood Watch is one important way citizens can work together to prevent crime. In essence, it is an organized "be a nosey neighbor" type program, where neighbors are instructed on what to do if they see anything suspicious in their neighborhood. It also deals with what action they can take to deter certain crimes.
How do I Start a Neighborhood Watch Program?
If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch program, please call the Crime Prevention Unit at (706) 653-3173, and tell them you would like to hold an initial Neighborhood Watch Meeting. The Crime Prevention Unit will provide you with printed invitations for the meeting. The next step is mailing out the invitations to your neighbors. For a checklist to start a Neighborhood Watch click here. It would also help to have the following information as complete as possible by the first meeting:
Officially starting a Neighborhood Watch is broken into two phases. In phase one, you begin holding meetings to guage interest about starting a Neighborhood Watch program, and you create a map of your neighborhood listing all residents and their addresses. In phase two, you and your neighbors select a block captain.
What will happen at the first meeting?
During the first meeting, the following events will occur:
- A representative from the Crime Prevention Unit will be present to discuss the Neighborhood Watch Program.
- A list will be made of all the neighbors on your street which will include addresses and phone numbers. For a neighbor information chart click here
- A block captain will be selected by the residents and his or her duties will be explained. For a list of the block captain's duties click here.
- All neighbors will be encouraged to have a security survey made of their residence and to join Operation Identification (which is engraving valuable items). To obtain a copy of the Valuable Property Form