Neighborhood Watch, in various forms, has been around for many years. Today it is one of the most popular and successful of all efforts to prevent residential crime. Here in Virginia, it is reported that several hundred thousand households are participating in local Neighborhood Watch programs.
Perhaps one reason for the success of Neighborhood Watch is its simplicity. Although programs may vary the ways they are organized and the methods used to reduce the opportunity for crime, all are predicated on the need for residents to protect their neighborhood by observing and reporting suspicious or unusual activities.
Many communities with active programs have experienced substantial decreases in burglary, vandalism, and larceny. In addition to the prevention of residential crime, functions of the Neighborhood Watch program include:
Creating a greater awareness of crime
Increasing the reporting of crime and suspicious activities
Serving as a warning to criminals
Providing residents with access to crime patterns and trends that may threaten them
Increases in arrest and conviction of criminals due to the availability of eye witnesses
Organizing a Program In Your Neighborhood
If your neighborhood does not have a program, talk with several neighbors about starting one. Arrange a meeting of the neighbors who have agreed to help, and call your local law enforcement agency at (276) 645-7400 for its participation and advice.
This ad-hock committee can then assume the responsibility for initiating a watch program, including the identification of the watch area, selection of a program coordinator and block or road captains, and arranging for a meeting of all the residents to kick off the program.