13 January 2016
Start a Neighborhood Watch Program

Whether you live in Las Vegas, Reno, Henderson, or another area of our state, crime happens, and sadly, it can happen anywhere. That’s why our state’s communities, large and small, have started Neighborhood Watch programs in conjunction with local law enforcement. Fighting crime at the local level along with your neighbors is effective and it doesn’t cost anything.

What does a Neighborhood Watch program do for your community? It provides more eyes and ears in the community looking out for what’s best for their neighbors and their own families. Members of a Neighborhood Watch program have a heightened awareness of neighborhood activity, day or night. If a suspicious stranger is moving from house to house, the Watch member simply calls law enforcement to report what’s going on.

Members of a Neighborhood Watch program are trained by local law enforcement professionals to identify suspicious behavior – everything from graffiti to a home break-in while your neighbors are away.

Neighborhood Watch programs:

  • lower the likelihood of criminal activity in your neighborhood;
  • reduce fear of crime by adding a layer of local security;
  • help introduce neighbors and create bonds to protect each other;
  • increase a sense of belonging to a neighborhood;
  • reduce the likelihood that you’ll be victimized by crime;
  • provide training from professional law enforcement officers;
  • maintain higher standards of quality of life by eliminating nuisance crimes.

Neighborhood Watch programs take a more directed and organized approach to identifying suspicious behavior, unusual strangers, and other odd occurrences in the neighborhood. Members of Neighborhood Watch programs don’t confront potentially dangerous individuals. They call the authorities and help law enforcement fight crime.

Neighborhood Watch programs can provide information on how to make your home a less attractive target for criminals. Add some lighting, trim back the bushes where burglars can hide, and those burglars will probably move on to find an easier target.

People who seldom leave their homes can volunteer to be “window watchers” – keeping eyes on the street throughout the day.

Getting to know each other through a Neighborhood Watch program can help you organize a neighborhood-wide system of parents who can watch the kids at play, walk them home from the bus stop, and protect their families (and your family) when you’re not around.

Make sure that members don’t become vigilantes. The functions of a Neighborhood Watch program do not include law enforcement, which may endanger you and the rest of your neighbors.

Getting Started

If a Neighborhood Watch program is already in place where you live, contribute to the effort by joining, getting to know your neighbors and their activities, and learning how to recognize and report suspicious behavior.

Create a small planning committee of several concerned neighbors. Decide on a date and place for your first Neighborhood Watch meeting.

Contact your local law enforcement agency and request that a crime prevention officer attend your first neighborhood meeting. These professionals have trained others in identifying and preventing crime, and they come prepared with brochures to share with neighbors, tips for improving neighborhood safety, and a list of procedures to help keep you safe.

Ask law enforcement officials to assess your neighborhood for potential weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Then prepare a list of what needs to be fixed.

Finally, go door-to-door handing out brochures on safety and ask neighbors to support the Neighborhood Crime Watch.

So, if you worry about crime, if you see crime occurring in your neighborhood, if you simply want to make things better for your family, neighbors and friends, contact the local crime prevention officer, put on some coffee, and start protecting yourself.

Work with law enforcement and your neighbors to fight crime on your street.

Resources:

North Las Vegas: www.cityofnorthlasvegas.com/Departments/Police/NeighborhoodWatch.shtm

Henderson:

www.cityofhenderson.com/police/community-relations-unit/neighborhood-watch

Las Vegas:

www.lvmpd.com/CommunityPrograms/NeighborhoodWatch/tabid/132/Default.aspx

Washoe County:

www.washoesheriff.com/sub.php?page=neighborhood-watch-program

Reno:

http://www.reno.gov/government/departments/police/community-action-and-outreach/neighborhood-watch

 

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.

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