How Do I Start a Neighborhood Watch Program In My Area?
Contact the Crime Prevention Officer, Kevin Kempker, of the Jefferson City Police Department’s Community Services Unit at (573) 634-6398. The Crime Prevention Officer will schedule a meeting with you and your neighbors to tell you all about the local program. Other area watch group members may attend this first meeting to tell you how it is working in their neighborhood.
Talk to your neighbors. Canvass your neighborhood for interest. You will probably find that they share the same concerns and interests.
Arrange a date and a place for the meeting. Select a time that is convenient for most of your neighbors. Plan the meeting date far enough in advance to give everyone adequate notice (about 2-3 weeks). Prepare a flyer with the date, time, and location of the meeting and distribute it to everyone in your area. You should remind them of the meeting a few days before.
At the first meeting, prepare some opening remarks about who you are and thank everyone for attending. Nametags can be very helpful if everyone doesn't know each other. Have everyone introduce themselves. Briefly explain the purpose of the meeting and what you hope to accomplish. The Crime Prevention Specialist will give you an introduction to the Neighborhood Watch program. He will also tell you about effective crime prevention techniques for home and neighborhood safety.
Select a Block Captain. The Block Captain will be the spokesperson for the group and it is preferred that they have (e-mail) capability. They will organize and arrange Neighborhood Watch meetings. Neighbors should share the responsibility of hosting the meetings. They will maintain a master list of all members and designate work assignments such as new recruitments, vacation home watch, neighborhood patrol, and material distributions. The Block Captain position should be rotated on a regularly scheduled basis to share the work load and responsibilities so as to allow more people to participate and be involved. (Block Captain Materials)
Develop and distribute maps. To help members give adequate information when reporting suspicious activity in the neighborhood, a map of the area should be developed.
Clearly identify streets and cross-streets. Indicate the name, address, phone number and e-mail addresses for each home (stress that all information will be kept confidential). (My Watch Group)
Gather and share information. Knowing your neighbors' basic habits and belongings will help you to recognize unusual or suspicious activities. Basic information you might exchange includes home and work phone numbers; number, ages, and identity of family members; work hours; school hours of children; number and types of automobiles; who has a dog(s); and planned vacations. The Crime Prevention Specialist will give you Neighborhood Watch stickers to distribute and will arrange for the City to install Neighborhood Watch signs on your street. Failure to maintain an "active" status could be cause for removal of the watch sign from the area. (see Program Requirments)
You are on your way. Remember, your job is to report crime. The responsibility of apprehending criminals belongs to the police. Attend your own Neighborhood Watch meetings. Your Block Captain will inform you of important upcoming events and programs offered by the Jefferson City Police Department.