3 Reasons to Have a Neighborhood Watch Program

May 15, 2014

When you hear that a neighborhood has a Neighborhood Watch program, you may wonder: why?  In especially nicer neighborhoods, it can seem as though the ostensible purpose of the Neighborhood Watch – specifically, to prevent crime – is rather pointless, as nicer neighborhoods often seem to have very little crime at all.  In a neighborhood like that, isn’t a Watch just a waste of time and resources?  Well, if you view it strictly from that perspective, yes, but there are in fact several reasons to have a Neighborhood Watch Program beyond fighting crime.

1. Community

You would be amazed at just how much a Neighborhood Watch Program can help a community come together. By joining together in a group and learning to work together, the members of the program learn to take responsibility for the health, wellbeing, and safety of the neighborhood.

This kind of ownership is important; increasingly, many communities come to see their safety as simply the province of a private security firm or the police, but this is an irresponsible way to see safety in your community; rather, by taking ownership, you come to see the quality of life of everyone in your neighborhood as important to you. This forms bonds of community and friendship that you rarely see outside neighborhoods without a Watch.

2. Emergency Services

Crimefighting isn’t the only function that a Watch offers. A Neighborhood Watch also offers emergency services, of which there are many. First, if someone is lost – say, a child who is missing – the Neighborhood Watch can help to search. The Watch also offers emergency services in inclement weather: during a flood, a landslide, a particularly bad thunderstorm, a snowstorm, and so on, a Watch can offer help that many people need.

Specifically, the Watch can allocate funds and training to prepare its members for providing such aid. By having first aid and other emergency supplies on hand – the kind of things that most individual families may not have easy access to immediately – the Watch provides a vital service that most others cannot immediately offer short of official government emergency services, which can’t always respond in as timely a manner as the Watch.

3. Crime Prevention

Finally, the Neighborhood Watch does more than fight crime – it prevents crime. By regularly going through the motions of program operations and training, the Watch shows criminals who might think to case the neighborhood that there are, in fact, individuals who are vigilant against the threat crime poses. In the end, it is better to be safe than sorry, and a Watch in even the safest of neighborhoods embodies exactly this.

As you can see, it is very beneficial to have a neighborhood watch in your area. The good news is that a neighborhood watch program is not difficult to start. The person who wants to start the group should get interested members together and contact their local law enforcement agency to register them. At least one police officer should attend the first couple of meetings to explain how a neighborhood watch program works and provide guidance. The members should ask the police officers a lot of questions during the meetings so that they can operate the neighborhood watch program effectively.