AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION:
Neighborhood watch, Block watch, town watch--whatever the
title, this initiative is one of the most effective ways to
prevent crime, attend to home and personal security, address
the safety of our children and the elderly and reduce fear and
isolation. Civic involvement, collaborative problem-solving
and mutual commitment have helped cities and neighborhoods
reduce crime by significant numbers.
In early 1972, the National Sheriffs' Association created a
model program for today’s neighborhood watch. At that time,
the Chiefs were searching for ways to attack the increasing
burglary rate across the country. It was recognized that
communities able to secure the assistance of their residents
in observing, recognizing and reporting suspicious or criminal
activities were better able to keep the burglary rate down and
reduce other crimes. Today, neighborhood watch is the largest
single organized crime prevention project in the nation.
We know that neighborhood watch forges strong bonds among
residents. Watch groups create a sense of community and pride
by forming a unified group of citizens dedicated to improving
their neighborhood. Partnering with law enforcement, citizens
become their eyes and ears. These groups also serve as an
empowering outlet for victims of crime. It helps give victims
a greater sense of control--ensuring that what happened to
them will be less likely to happen to others. A neighborhood
watch program can also be a springboard for many other efforts
to address the causes of crime, reduce crime and improve
neighborhood conditions including youth recreation, child
care, economic development, senior citizen activities,
affordable housing and community beautification.
BENEFITS OF NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH:
Deters criminal activity;
Creates a greater sense of security and reduces fear of crime;
Builds bonds with neighbors; people look out for one another;
it stimulates neighborhood awareness;
Reduces the risk of becoming a crime victim; it reduces the
physical, financial and psychological costs of crime;
Instructs residents on how to observe and report suspicious
activities in your community; and
Addresses quality of life issues and mutual interests in your
Crime Prevention Survey:
The National Crime Prevention Council, with support from ADT
Security Services, Inc., released a 2000 national crime
survey: Are We Safe? This survey measures attitudes and
behaviors about crime prevention throughout the country.
Despite the decrease in crime, the survey found that fear and
anxiety about crime persists. If we do not feel safe in our
communities, we change our activities and withdraw from
community life. This negative chain reaction perpetuates
itself: generating more fear, isolation and increased crime.
Among the findings:
Seventeen percent of the people surveyed said they were more
fearful of walking in their neighborhoods this year than last.
Nearly one-half of the respondents could name at least one
program in their community that prevents crime. Neighborhood
watch was cited by 45 percent of those surveyed.
Only approximately one in six Americans or seventeen percent
volunteers in a program that prevents crime. Of those who
volunteer, four in ten work with neighborhood watch.
While Americans are concerned about the
safety of their children, they expose them to risks or crime
Three out of ten families left children under 18 years of age
at home without adult supervision for at least 30 minutes
during the work week.
One in four families left a child at home without adult care
for 30 minutes or more at least sometime during the week end.
More than three out of ten parents never ask about alcohol and
firearms storage in homes where their children play.
Although fear, or at least uneasiness about
crime is extensive, many adults are ready, willing, and able
to become active in their neighborhoods. This survey finding
shows promise since we know that involvement of residents and
stakeholders is among the best remedies to crime.
Additional results include:
About eight in ten of us have a neighbor who would watch our
homes while we are away.
One in five Americans who doesn’t volunteer explains that it
is because he/she is unaware of where to go or whom to
Eighty-three percent agree or strongly agree that we should
work with our neighbors to solve community problems.
One in four named getting involved with the community as one
thing to prevent crime.
In order to strengthen the social and
economic fabric of our neighborhoods, neighborhood watch
groups and other crime prevention organizations need to
galvanize volunteers and reach out to the 41 million adults
who could be recruited just by informing them of how to get
The Mobridge Police Department is
coordinating an effort to reestablish the Mobridge
Neighborhood Watch program. If you are interested in becoming
a block leader or program coordinator, please email the
Community Services Officer.
|To view downloadable
helpful information guides dealing with the Neighborhood
Watch Program and how you can help by being part of a