How Neighborhood Watch Works
Neighborhood Watch is a Community Policing partnership program that rapidly expanded nation-wide in the 1970’s to combat significant increases in residential crime. This program depends on citizen involvement to prevent and discourage crime and reduce fear by taking certain home, property, and personal self-protection precautions, really getting to know and look out for neighbors, and reporting crimes and suspicious activities to the police. Neighborhood Watch in the city of El Paso is an El Paso Police Department program and the department determines its policy. Today, we have over 600 such programs, and this concept has also expanded to schools, apartments, parks, and businesses.
Visit your block neighbors with this page or have a get-together to promote it, stimulate interest and enlist helpers, and gather program support from them. Call the phone number below for police information and assistance on your questions. Once you have the active support from half of your block, designate a Block Captain and Co-Captain to serve as block coordinators and liaisons with the police for information and educational literature. Establish a means to keep all your residents informed of these communications.
Organizing & Maintaining Neighborhood Watch
When committed, schedule a “start-up” meeting with a police officer at a date and time convenient to your block. At that time, the officer will walk everyone through all elements of the program:
- Neighborhood Watch rules and duties
- “Telephone Tree” Block Map for quick contact with your neighbors
- Street signs and window stickers
- Home security surveys and participation in Operation I.D.
- Flexible get-togethers that focus on residents’ needs, concerns, and interests
- Police mailings on events like National Night Out and Pride Day
Within parameters, your block decides how to run its own program thereafter keeping your Crime Prevention Officer informed. You’ll subsequently have four annual block get-togethers according to your group’s desires that may range from business to social. Your Block Captain will attend annual “refresher” training by police and continue to coordinate block Neighborhood Watch activities, disseminate crime prevention information and educational literature, and bring new neighbors into the program.
Costs & Benefits
- Costs are minimal… - investment of some time to get started, subsequent participation by neighbors at get-togethers, and street signs (usually two per block at $37.00 each). The city erects signs on standing poles.
- Benefits are many… - beyond preventing crime and reducing fear, Neighborhood Watch builds pride, forges bonds among block residents, improves citizen-police relations, and can address other block issues and concerns like child safety, youth development, senior citizen welfare, and quality-of-life.
- Participants receive an excellent, on-going education from police on many topics including:
- Basic crime prevention measures to safeguard you, your home, and valuables
- Direct telephone contacts to police agencies
- Being vigilant, cooperative surveillance, and recognizing suspicious activity?
- How to handle city ordinance “nuisance” violations
- “Code Watch” patrol checks on temporarily vacated homes
- How to deal with suspected drug activity
- Experts to speak, instruct, or train at your block get-togethers
- How to get graffiti cleaned up
Your Direct Police Contact
For additional information on Neighborhood Watch or to start one up now, contact the Crime Prevention Officer for your city area.