How to start a Neighborhood Watch Group
By the Eye
1.) Neighborhood Watch groups are typically set up for a street block section, literally the length of the block of the street you live on,bordered by the two cross streets at either end. For the next block down on your same street, there may be a different NW group, 2nd different Block Captain, etc., you get the idea.
The idea for this is that the best way for citizens to watch out for each other, is to have it be just one block, and both sides of the street, as when folks are across from each other, it is easier to watch for suspicious activity, etc.
So, the first thing you need to do is see if there already is a NW group for your street block. To do this contact your local PD’s non-emergency number, and talk to their Information Officer or equivalent, and see what’s what. If there is already a NW group for your block, the officer will give you the contact info for the current Block Captain, who will give you the rest of the info you need to join, and help out.
2.) If there is not a NW group for your block…guess what? Start one. The same Info Officer will send you things like sample letters, NW pamphlets, etc.,that you can send all the people on your street, announcing the formation of the new NW group. At this point, you will NOT be the Block Captain, but an interested party saying: “Hey folks, this sounds like a good idea, wanna join too?”
Wait for a couple of weeks for people to respond to the intro letter you send out, which should include your best contact phone number, best email contact address, and your home address. Some folks like to respond in different methods. Give’em every chance to respond. Once you get a list of interested parties (by this time the PD will have hooked you up with the Officer administrating the NW in your area), set up your first meeting, either at someone’s house with enough room, or at the PD auditorium itself (this is what I do). At that first meeting, they will elect by a show of hands or somesuch, who the first Block Captain for the first year will be. Usually, this will resoundingly end up being the person who started the whole thing in the first place, namely, you.
Also,at this first meeting, the NW watch officer will give the assembled group the NW introduction, etc., and encourage those who have not yet done so the opportunity to exchange contact info, etc.
3.) The first meeting will likely not have all interested attendees present, as you are starting this group out of the blue, and people will already have had their short-term schedules booked up. So, suggest that some folks take extra materials with them, to give to some of the other folk who could not make the first meeting. This usually interests them in making time for the second one. The NW Officer will have suggestions for meeting topics, such as Home Security, etc., to give you something to have presented at the next meeting.
4.) Keep things going by sending out to your mailing list (in between meetings), interesting stories,links to good tools, security devices, etc., to keep the group cohesive, and moving forward.
That’s about it for the basics.
In Seeing Justice Done,