A block watch program is an essential part of protecting your neighborhood. The program is based on the idea that neighbors working together are the first and best line of defense against crime in a neighborhood – it’s been shown to be extremely effective in deterring crime at the neighborhood level. The Seattle Block Watch program began in 1972 and has seen significant success in crime prevention. Roughly 30% of Seattle neighborhoods take part in a block watch program whereas the nationwide average is less than 11%.
If you are interested in starting up a http://www.seattle.gov/police/blockwatch/default.htmblock watch in your neigborhood, there are a few things that are required. You need to make two basic commitments:
In reality a block watch is really just the formalization of the good practices you are already doing on an informal basis. A block watch makes the informal system more systematic and makes sure that all neighbors are on the same page and are all looking out for one another. Organizing a block watch provides all neighbors with a block map, a contact list with names, telephone numbers, and emails of neighbors to be used in a case of emergency.
If you are interested in getting a block watch started, you should contact the Crime Prevention Coordinator for your area to coordinate a neighborhood-wide meeting. You should invite all your neighbors (though the number and size of your territory is up to you) to a central meeting spot where the coordinator will go over area crime, crime trends, prevention measures and proactive things neighbors can do to positively impact public safety.
If you are interested in being a captain of your block watch, the Seattle Police has put together a fantastic tool kit filled with all the resources you need to be effective in preventing crime in your neighborhood.
We hope this information has been helpful to you as you protect your home and your neighborhood. While the resources are from the Seattle PD, these lessons can be used anywhere in the United States!