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Neighborhood watch programs important part of crime prevention

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Neighborhood watch programs are an important part of crime prevention in many cities. Getting to know those wacky neighbors with the fifty pink flamingo statues can actually help save your home from burglary. Follow these 4 steps for starting a watch program to make your neighborhood a safer place.

Step 1: Rally Your Troops

Before you can help protect your neighbors, you need to know who they are. Send out a letter or post fliers for an interest meeting. Contact your local law enforcement office to gather information about neighborhood watch programs. Ask if an officer is available to attend your first meeting.

Use this meeting to collect information. How many people live in each home? What's their schedule? What kind of cars do they drive? Also, be sure to assign two co-captains to organize your watch.

Some of your neighbors may hesitate to take part, because they might believe it will take too much time. But a block with 10 homes, for example, will only require participants to take three shifts per month. Remind your neighbors that the benefits of home safety far outweigh such a small investment of time.

Step 2: Initiate Your Watch

Use the information gathered at your first meeting to create a phone tree and map of your area. Share this information with all neighbors. Remind them to report anything out of the ordinary, day or night.

Watch captains should make sure all neighbors complete a training class before a watch program begins. Many law enforcement offices offer such training. These training programs encourage watchers to stay safe by avoiding contact with possible criminals and notifying police officers of unusual activity.

Next, post a sign that notifies criminals that your community watch program is in full effect. Now your group is ready to assign shifts and begin protecting your neighborhood.

Step 3: Stay in Contact

One neighborhood watch group in New Haven, Connecticut used contact as their primary method to catch a package thief. They sent email notifications to neighbors about any new incidents and reminded them to call the police if they saw anything suspicious. This method proved to be highly effective.

Staying in contact is perhaps the most important part of your neighborhood watch program. Co-captains must keep the phone tree up-to-date. Identify new neighbors as they move in, and encourage them to take part.

Step 4: Be Active as an Organization

Yearly or monthly meetings are a great contact opportunity and a chance to encourage safe practices. Invite firefighters to discuss fire safety, offer to trim bushes and trees blocking windows of elderly neighbors, and encourage participants to turn on porch lights at night.

If a porch light is left on into the daytime, watch members may want to check with elderly neighbors to make sure a fall hasn't occurred. Ask neighbors to have someone collect their mail and newspapers during vacations. Remind your neighbors that installing a LifeShield home alarm systemsis a great measure of extra protection.

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Your neighbors want to live in a safe neighborhood as much as you do, so rally their support for a neighborhood watch program. These four steps will not only limit property loss, they could help save lives.

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Posted in Health and Medical Post Date 03/15/2016






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