The Neighborhood Watch program encourages cooperation between neighbors and helps them become familiar with each other and the law enforcement deputies in their area.
The Neighborhood Watch program is a partnership between law enforcement and the community to reduce and prevent crime through neighborhood empowerment. It is a neighborhood and community based effort, designed to help citizens and the Sheriff’s Office prevent primarily residential burglaries. In harmony with the philosophy of Community Policing, Neighborhood Watch encourages strong working relationships between deputies and citizens. Neighborhood Watch is one of the most effective and least costly methods to prevent crime.
How Do I Start a Neighborhood Watch?
Residents, businesses and law enforcement agencies can initiate the effort to organize a Neighborhood Watch. The first step is to find out the initial interest level on your block and neighborhood. Any attempt at starting an organized watch program will not be successful unless a certain level of community interest exists. Neighborhood Watch program success is hinged on achieving and sustaining an appropriate level of community involvement to a point at which the neighborhood realizes a reduction and achieves prevention of residential burglaries and other neighborhood crimes. Once neighbor and/or block interest is obtained, enlist your neighbors to help you form a planning committee to discuss concerns, and the focus of your Neighborhood Watch. The following tips are suggested to encourage the neighbors to join you:
- Ask your neighbors when they are available. (Meetings are generally conducted in the evenings, Monday through Thursday)
- Select a close meeting place in your neighborhood. (Local churches, schools or community centers are usually very cooperative or even a community member’s home)
- Contact the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office Community Liaison Unit at 660-3920 to schedule a deputy to attend the meeting.
- Advertising is very important! Let neighbors know when and where the meeting will be held. Neighborhood Watch materials are available from the sheriff’s office. Distribute fliers, in person, at least two weeks prior to the meeting. Ask other neighbors to assist you.
- Two or three days before the meeting, remind your neighbors in person or by phone.
- The first meeting is basically a social event and an information sharing time. The deputy will explain services offered by the sheriff’s office and how Neighborhood Watch can help your community. The primary goal is to gauge the expected participation in the project, create an understanding for the need of Neighborhood Watch and select volunteers to become block captains.
- You should have one block captain for every certain number of homes (i.e., every ten homes). The Block Captains should attempt to register every home in their assigned block. Compile a master list of all members’ names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers, and then distribute the list to neighborhood members.
Neighborhood Watch signs are available for purchase, but are not required to have a Neighborhood Watch. They do serve as an additional deterrent and are most effective when placed at the entry of your neighborhood.
Sign Installation Instructions:
- Signs must be on private property. They cannot be on county easement.
- Neighborhood Watch signs cannot be posted on the street sign post displaying street names or utility poles.
- Install posts in cement.
- Mark the back of your Neighborhood Watch sign with your block address using an engraver to enable law enforcement to return the sign in the event it is stolen and recovered.
- After bolting the sign onto the post, damage the back of the bolt to eliminate the possibility of someone removing your sign by just unbolting it from the post.
If you are interested in starting a neighborhood watch contact the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office Community Liaison Unit at 660-3920.