Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch is one of the oldest and best known crime prevention concepts in the US. In the late 1960's, an increase in crime heightened the need for a crime prevention initiative focused on residential areas and involving local citizens. The National Sheriffs' Association responded, creating the National Neighborhood Watch Program in 1972. Over time Neighborhood Watch has adjusted, and expanded to fit the current crime prevention needs.

What is Neighborhood Watch?

A Neighborhood Watch program is a group of people living in the same area who want to make their neighborhood safer by working together and in conjunction with local law enforcement to reduce crime and improve their quality of life. Neighborhood Watch empowers citizens and communities to become active and take a stand against crime and criminal activity in their community.

Benefits of Neighborhood Watch

There are the obvious benefits of having a neighborhood watch group in your community:

  • Crime reduction
  • A better quality of life
  • A greater sense of security
  • Strong sense of community pride and unity

5 Steps to Building a Successful Neighborhood Watch Group

  1. Recruit and organize as many neighbors as possible.
  2. Contact your local law enforcement agency and schedule a meeting.
  3. Discuss community concerns and develop an action plan
  4. Implement a phone tree
  5. Keep lines of communication open.

Neighborhood Watch - Building Skill for a Lifetime

The ultimate goal in neighborhood watch is to encourage neighbors to prevent crime by training them on how to report crime, when to report crime and how to prevent crime from occurring in their neighborhood.

Neighborhood Watch Skills

  • Observation Skills
  • Define What is Suspicious Activity
  • Who to Call and When to Call
  • Understand basic target hardening techniques
  • Operation ID

For more information about Neighborhood Watch or how to start a group in your community; contact the Des Moines Police Department Community Service Unit at (206) 870-7619.