A Checklist for starting a neighborhood watch program


You Will Need


  • A person or group of people committed to starting a Neighborhood Watch.

  • A planning committee to initiate the program.

  • A list of what issues initially need to be addressed in your community.

  • A means of communicating with the residents, e.g., e-mail, fliers, telephone trees.

  • Publicity for the initial Neighborhood Watch meeting.

  • A meeting agenda to keep things moving and on track.

  • A place to meet-resident's house or apartment, community center, school, library.

  • A crime prevention officer to discuss the crime issues in the neighborhood and to help train members.

  • A map of the community with spaces for names, addresses, and phone numbers of all households.

  • Brochures or other materials on topics of interest to the residents.

  • A sign-up sheet for those interested in becoming block or building captains.

  • Neighborhood Watch signs to be posted around the community. Some jurisdictions require a minimum number of participants before Neighborhood Watch signs can be posted.

  • Facts about crime in your neighborhood. (These can be found in police reports, and newspapers)


To Add Excitement


  • Mix business with pleasure -allow attendees time to socialize.

  • Seek out neighborhood go-getters -civic leaders and elected officials -to be your advocates and mentors.

  • Work with such existing organizations as citizens' association, tenants' association, or housing authorities.

  • Provide speakers on topics of community interest.

  • Link crime prevention into activities promoted by other groups: child protection, anti-vandalism projects, community service, arson prevention, recreation activities for young people.

  • Start a neighborhood newsletter.


To Build Partnerships


  • Police Departments and Sheriffs' office's endorsement is critical to a Watch group's credibility. These agencies are the major sources of information on local crime patterns, crime prevention education, and crime reporting.

  • Local businesses and organizations can help provide fliers and a newsletter, offer meeting places, and distribute crime prevention information. Ask an electronics store to donate cellular phones.

  • Libraries can provide research materials, videos, computers, and meeting space.

  • Media can aid Neighborhood Watches by publicizing recruitment drives.

  • Look to volunteer centers, parent groups, and labor unions for advice on recruiting volunteers.

  • Teenagers are valuable resources. They can be an integral part of a citizens' patrol including biking and rollerblading to scout the neighborhood.

  • Places of worship can provide meeting space and a good source of volunteers.