Take a Stand Against Crime, Join a Neighborhood Watch.
Neighborhood Watch, Block Watch, Town Watch, Building Watch, Crime Watch -- whatever the name, it's one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear. Neighborhood Watch fights the isolation that crime both creates and feeds upon. It forges bonds among area residents, helps reduce burglaries and robberies, and improves relations between police and the communities they serve.
Why Neighborhood Watch?
It works. Throughout the country, dramatic decreases in burglary and related offenses are reported by law enforcement professionals in communities with active Watch programs.
Today's transient society produces communities that are less personal. Many families have two working parents and children involved in many activities that keep them away from home. An empty house in a neighborhood where none of the neighbors know the owner is a prime target for burglary.
Neighborhood Watch also helps build pride and serves as a springboard for efforts that address other community concerns such as recreation for youth, child care, and affordable housing.
How does a Neighborhood Watch start?
A motivated individual, a few concerned residents, a community organization, or a law enforcement agency can spearhead the efforts to establish a Watch. Together they:
Organize a small planning committee of neighbors to discuss needs, the level of interest, and possible community problems.
Contact the local police or sheriff's department, or local crime prevention organization, for help in training members in home security and reporting skills and for information on local crime patterns.
Hold an initial meeting to gauge neighbors interest; establish the purpose of the program; and begin to identify issues that need to be addressed.
Select a coordinator.
Ask for block captain volunteers who are responsible for relaying information to members.
Recruit members, keeping up-to-date information on new residents and making special efforts to involve the elderly, working parents, and young people.
Work with local government or law enforcement to put up Neighborhood Watch signs, usually after at least 50 percent of all households are enrolled.
What does a Neighborhood Watch do?
A Neighborhood Watch is neighbors helping neighbors. They are extra eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors.
What are the major components of a Neighborhood Watch Program?
Meetings. These should be set up on a regular basis such as bi-monthly, monthly, or six times a year.
Citizens' or community patrol. A citizens' patrol is made up of volunteers who walk or drive though the community and alert police to crime and questionable activities. Not all neighborhood watches need a citizens' patrol.
Communications. These can be as simple as a weekly flier posted on community announcement boards to a monthly newsletter that updates neighbors on the progress of the program to a neighborhood electronic bulletin board.
What kinds of activities should I be on the lookout for as a Neighborhood Watch member?
Someone screaming or shouting for help.
Someone looking in windows of houses and parked cars.
Property being taken out of houses where no one is at home or from closed businesses.
Cars, vans, or trucks moving slowly with no apparent destination or without lights.
Anyone being forced into a vehicle. A stranger sitting in a car or stopping to talk to a child
Report these incidents to the police or sheriff's department. Talk about concerns and problems with your neighbors.
How should I report these incidents?
Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.
Give you name and address.
Explain what happened.
Briefly describe the suspect: sex and race, age, height, weight, hair color, clothing, distinctive characteristics such as beard, mustache, scars, or accent.
Describe the vehicle if one was involved: color, make, model, year, license plate, and special features such as stickers.
Neighborhood Watch Related Links
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact the Thousand Oaks Police Department’s Crime Prevention Bureau (805) 371-8362.