Watch groups are usually formed after a problem or crime in the area. They are formed using the same format as "How to Organize Your Neighborhood." You can be as formal or informal as the group feels will work for your area and/or needs.
We would suggest calling your Community Police Officer to speak to you and be a part of your group. They provide valuable resources that will help in your efforts to create a safe neighborhood. The Liveable Neighborhoods office will also provide assistance and information for your group. We suggest you register your group name and boundaries including a contact person with Mary Jane Johnson, Director of Liveable Neighborhoods. This is necessary for you to be eligible to apply for grants from the Unified Government.
Suggestions for forming a Neighborhood Watch Group
- Start with a core group to help plan your first meeting.
- Arrange for a meeting place in your area. Depending on the size of the group, you may use someone's home, local church, school or community center.
- Prepare a flier that states the time, place, date and purpose for the meeting.
- The core group should personally distribute the fliers to the neighborhood.
- Set an agenda and try to follow it as closely as possible. Explain the reason for the meeting, and the steps the group will need to take to become an effective Watch Group.
- Explain the people at the meeting that for the group to be effective, they must participate in some capacity. This can be as little as making phone calls, or agreeing to be a Block Captain.
- The most important part of becoming a Watch Group is the sharing of information. You will need everyone's name, address and phone (day and evening) number.
- The next step is looking at your neighborhood like a criminal. Are there sufficient street lights? Do the neighbors leave porch lights on? Do they have back yard security lights? Do you know your neighbors?
- Create a form for everyone to fill out:
- Name, address, etc.
- Type of automobile
- Normal times away from home
- Health problems in home (disability, special needs person, etc.)
- Assure your neighbors that the information is only needed to provide a guide as to who should be at their home so something out of the ordinary could be reported.
Remember that most household crimes happen while you are at work, out for the evening or on vacation. A neighborhood watch group can be instrumental in keeping those crimes from happening. The more information your group has, the better it can control what's happening in your area.
Click here for Neighborhood Group Registration Form.