Neighborhood Watch programs are a great way to make the place you live safer for everyone. The signs alone can dissuade criminals while the knowledge your neighbors are looking out for you can put your mind at ease. However, it is important that you ensure that everyone is kept safe by your neighborhood watch. Grants are available in some areas to support Neighborhood Watch programs—Tip #4 in this blog. Before that, here are some ways to make sure your community watch as is effective and safe as possible, while taking into account recent criticism for profiling, overuse of force, and other issues.
- Offer Training to Volunteers
An increasingly common issue in America is overuse of force from both police and neighborhood watch members. Innocent adults and children alike are being profiled and killed as a result of undertraining. Particularly in diverse communities, it is important that you educate your volunteers.
Work alongside your local police force, if possible, for training on proper force and avoidance of racial profiling. If teens are being profiled and shot by your neighborhood watch, your neighborhood is not safe.
If planning to use weapons of any kind, volunteers should also know how to use them. Even if your neighborhood watch isn’t using firearms, tasers can also be deadly if handled improperly. Weapons such as batons and pepper spray can also cause significant damage if the person using them has not received proper training.
- Go Door to Door
Get to know your neighbors. It is much easier to identify outsiders and potential threats if you familiarize yourself with the people who live in the area. For example, if you know your neighbor and see them hopping through a window into their own home, you save yourself and the police a lot of trouble by knowing better than to report a burglary.
You can also identify which children should be with which adults. Not all parents and kids look alike and knowing the parents of your neighborhood’s kids can save everyone the headache of calling in a false kidnapping.
- Keep Your Home Safe
The safer your family home, the less likely you are to need the assistance of a neighborhood watch. If every home in the area has a sign stating they are protected by a home security system, it becomes less likely that someone would risk a criminal act in the neighborhood. Similarly, if someone tried to break in and found they could not successfully enter the home, your neighborhood may be viewed as too difficult to rob.
- Find Out About Grants in Your Area for Neighborhood Security
Depending on where you live, you may be able to find city, state, or even privately-funded grant programs that can help your cause. They tend to be local and regional, such as the City of Memphis. Other examples are The Walmart Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). TheGrantHelpers.com can help you locate even more.
Grant funds can be used to purchase security lights, pay for neighborhood self-defense training, or even add security cameras. You can contact your local police department for information about what’s available in your area, or if no program exists, reach out to local government on ways to get one started.
Seek out information on community safety grants in your city or state.
Luke Murray created CouncilOfNeighbors.org after an attempted burglary in his neighborhood put the spotlight on his community’s neighborhood watch system. The site aims to provide resources to help people keep their communities, families, and homes safe.
Image via Pixabay by Monam