Start a Community Watch Program

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A Community Watch group can be the "eyes and ears" of law enforcement.

Community Watch is a crime prevention program that enlists the active participation of residents, in cooperation with law enforcement, to reduce crime and victimization in the community. It involves:

  • Residents using common sense crime prevention practices to protect themselves and their property
  • Neighbors getting together in programs of mutual assistance to prevent crime
  • Residents being trained to recognize and report suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.

A Community Watch is not:

  • A vigilante group
  • Residents pursuing criminals or becoming physically involved in the criminal event
  • Taking the law into your hands.

Why Start a Community Watch?

Police officers cannot be everywhere, so community involvement is essential. You and your neighbors are the ones who really know what is going on in your community. By cooperating with each other and the police, you can help reduce crime in your community in the most effective way -- by preventing it.

Why do residents mobilize?

Residents may come together for a number of reasons:

  • To get something done about an immediate problem  
  • To problem-solve on issues and achieve future goals
  • To gather resources for community needs
  • To improve the quality of life in their communities.

What does a Community Watch look like?

Community Watch areas do not all look the same. Some Community Watches are defined geographically, while others may be defined on the basis of a common interest the members share. The basic structure of a Community Watch involves a Community Watch Leader, Block Captains, and members.  

Printable Resource

Starting a Community Watch - A Guide for Neighborhood Leaders Instruction Booklet

Resource Links

Starting a Community Watch

Roles and Responsibilities