How to Lead a Successful Neighborhood Watch

How to Lead a Successful Neighborhood Watch

10 Tips to Get yours Up and Running today

Playing safe sometimes requires more than an individual ability. The neighborhood watch program instituted in 1972 serves as one of the oldest crime prevention program available in the country notably also successful. The basic principle on which the neighborhood watch runs entails involving citizens in crime prevention and preparedness in emergencies.

Running a successful neighborhood watch involves a close-knit understanding between neighbors and partnership with the local police department. Here are 10 steps to follow in leading a successful neighborhood watch.

Autumn Colors Along A Street With New Homes And A View Of Mount Hood

STEP 1. Make contact with your neighbors.

Talk to them about the crime rate in your locality and the idea of starting a neighborhood watch if one does not already exist in your neighborhood. Try to get as many people as possible to partake in the idea as a collective rather than an individual idea. Get feedback and suggestions and make necessary adjustments to the plans, because the success of a neighborhood watch is based on the numbers of participants and commitment/cooperation.

STEP 2.  Visit your local police department.

Inform them of your group’s decision to start a neighborhood watch. Set up a date of meeting with your group. A close partnership between the police department and the neighborhood watch is necessary for it to function smoothly.  The police department would discuss and train the participants on what is required of them as members of the neighborhood watch and also attend to questions the group might have.

STEP 3. Identify the patterns of crime commonly committed.

Within you immediate locale, there are more common crimes than other locations. Work with the local law enforcement adviser and appoint a group head to coordinate and oversee the watch. Draw up a watch rooster and an emergency phone number tree to report crime and strange movement and occurrence.

STEP 4. Consider linking with an existing organization.

Look into other formed organizations before forming your own.  Such as a citizens’ association, community development office, tenants’ association, or housing authority. They may be able to provide an existing infrastructure you can use.

STEP 5. Organize and encourage participants to participate.

Actively train the group members by the local police department on the rudiments of playing safe, terrorism awareness, how to respond in times of emergency, and basic crime prevention techniques.

STEP 6.  Measure your success

The success of a neighborhood watch is based on understanding and cooperation between group members and the local law enforcement agency. Maintain enthusiasm among members. Organize a kickoff event to announce the formation of the neighborhood watch and also encourage others to get involved in all ways possible.

STEP 7.  Continually recruit

Organize a door to door visit to recruit more members, because certain individuals who hardly leave homes could act as spotters or window watchers who observe and report unusual happenings in the neighborhood.

STEP 8.  Light up the area collectively.

Encourage residents in the neighborhood to always turn on their outdoor lights at night to ward off intruders and also help in spotting any individual lurking around in the shadows. Encourage and sponsor cleanups and removals of abandoned vehicles and similar items which can contribute in the committing of a crime.

STEP 9.  Treat one another like real neighbors

To foster unity and keep up enthusiasm among the watch members, set up regular meetings so residents get to know each other. These meetings serve as an avenue to deliberate upon strategies and activities that are of benefit to the watch.

STEP 10.  You are crime spotters, not stoppers!

Neighborhood watches are not vigilante organizations. When suspecting criminal activities, encourage members to contact authorities and not to intervene.


By following these 10 steps, you and your neighbors can gain valuable peace of mind.  It is a great feeling to know others have your back and are watching out for you.  Getting crime deterrents like security signs and decals can also be important.  Forming a Facebook neighborhood page to let each other know what is going on is another common practice.  Finally, don't delay it!  Be the one who takes charge and form a local neighborhood watch program today.

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8 User Reviews
  1. Alistair Daniels
    08/02/2019 at 07:09

    Befriending your local homeless persons is your best bet at knowing where the crime hot spots. These days police simply fill in dockets and file them away. You don't have to invite them into your home. Delivering leftovers will work well. Most of them are just happy to know that someone else knows they exist ... They are worth talking to.

  2. Adrian
    08/16/2018 at 07:31

    The big concern I would have is if I have reliable neighbors I could ask assistance from in the first place. I'm from a questionable neighborhood that aren't exactly the friendliest of communities! Ha ha. I guess I would definitely get more out of befriending the local police.

  3. Ben
    04/18/2018 at 10:03

    I think a big factor that is often overlooked is keeping a good rapport with your local police department (especially if you live in a shady area). All of these other tips are accurate.

  4. Phil
    04/18/2018 at 09:59

    I'm in the neighborhood watch in my city and we love articles like these. It's so important to keep the whole neighborhood involved and kept up to date on these sort of topics.

  5. Bobby Saint
    11/24/2017 at 16:26

    I couldn't agree more when you mentioned one of the things you can do to be able to lead a successful neighborhood watch is by making contact with your neighbors. It is highly encouraged to form an organization among your neighbors and seek their cooperation to ensure the security of the community. Ask for suggestions and recommendations from each one about what they think you can do as a group or team to maintain peace and order in the neighborhood. This way, you are able to get the buy-in of each member and get everyone involved. If I were a resident of a certain neighborhood, I would definitely take this into account. Thanks.

  6. Jean
    04/07/2017 at 01:15

    We have a neighborhood watch that’s continuously recruiting. It has been active for years and we do feel a little safer with them around. There’s less incidents of burglary in the last couple of years. I think another key is a strong and reliable leader. It’s easy to start a neighborhood watch, but it’s difficult to maintain one. These are good guidelines for starting a watch. I’d add ensuring safety of each member.

  7. Linda
    03/22/2017 at 08:03

    Number 1 and number 9 are definately key. We live in a rural area, but there are a few sketchy people around. My neighbors and I stay in touch all they time and let each other know when we will be out of town or anything of the sort. We look out for one another and each other's property. The older neighbors will even call us at work if they see something odd around our house while we are at work.

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