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How To: Start a Neighborhood Watch Program in Your Community

Ideas for starting your own block-protection group with your neighbors

Starting a neighborhood watch program is a great way to better know those around you and contribute something that everyone will benefit from: a safer neighborhood. Though some areas may already have a watch program in place, those looking to create one will be surprised at how easy it is to organize a group, and there are several organizations throughout the nation that can help make the process even easier.


Better still, there are even crime watch events regularly celebrated throughout the year to help make your local watch program not only more successful, but also a lot of fun. With a little bit of guidance and plenty of enthusiasm, the next block watch party may be at a venue near you!

Starting a crime watch program

  • Begin with a small group of homeowners in order to interact with everyone.
  • Discuss appropriate times to meet to discuss issues the neighborhood/complex wants to address.
  • Contact local law enforcement agencies and inquire about the local crime scene and let them know your neighborhood is interested in establishing a watch program.
  • Share the news about the program with those nearby with fliers, phones calls, etc.

Plan crime-watch events to keep everyone interested

  • Block parties
  • Backyard barbecues
  • Flashlight walks
  • Children’s activities
  • Annual dinners with contests
  • Clean-up days

Organizations that can help

  • The National Association of Town Watch is a non-profit organization that promotes local watch programs that fight crime and help support drug prevention programs. NATW also has their renowned National Night Out event every year.
  • Affiliated with the National Sheriffs Association, USAonWatch is a group designed to bring law enforcement agencies, private programs and individuals together to lessen crime and help local communities prosper.
  • National Neighborhood Watch Institute sells a wide variety of items such as signs and stickers that inform the general public that you belong to a neighborhood watch program.
By Margie Jacinto