Neighborhood Watch is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most well-known crime prevention programs in history. While the modern day concept of program rose to prominence in the late 1960s in response to an increasing burglary rate, the roots of Neighborhood Watch can actually be traced all the way back to the days of Colonial settlements, when night watchmen patrolled the streets. The modern version of the Neighborhood Watch-USAonWatch Program was developed as a result of the multiple requests from sheriffs and police chiefs around the country who were looking for a crime prevention program that would incorporate citizen involvement and address the increasing number of burglaries taking place, especially in rural and suburban areas.
Since its beginnings, Neighborhood Watch has grown from an "extra eyes and ears" approach to crime prevention to a much more proactive, community-oriented endeavor providing a unique infrastructure that brings together local officials, law enforcement, and citizens for the protection of their communities. Today's Watch Group programs incorporate activities that not only address crime prevention issues, but also restore pride and unity to a neighborhood. It is not uncommon to see members of Neighborhood Watch groups participating in community cleanups and other activities that strive to improve the quality of life for community residents.
How do I start a Neighborhood Watch?
A Neighborhood Watch group is easy to start. Have a meeting with your neighbors and don’t forget to invite the MCPD. NW programs are built upon successful relationships between law enforcement and the community. Remember this is your Neighborhood Watch group and the MCPD is there to support and assist you. It is your responsibility to maintain interest and keep the group running smoothly.
- Begin talking to your neighbors to gauge interest. If they don’t understand what Neighborhood Watch is, use the flyer at the end of the USAonWatch - National Neighborhood Watch Program manual “Reasons for Neighborhood Watch” to explain the benefits.
- Contact the MCPD. Let us know you are interested in starting a group, we can help. Don't forget to invite us to attend your first meeting.
- Don’t be discouraged by low attendance or lack of interest at first. Not everyone will be interested in joining your Watch group right away or understand the need for the group. Continue to invite everyone and update neighbors who aren’t involved. As the group grows, more will want to join!
- Let's keep in touch. Continue to update the MCPD on your group's progress, ask questions and request additional information from our liaison officers. We are here to help!