Preventing crime and maintaining safe communities is everyone's responsibility. By practising the following personal and property safety tips, you can help reduce the incidents of crime and keep your community safe.
No police service can effectively protect life and property without the co-operation, support and involvement of the people it serves. Neighbourhood Watch is a community-driven crime prevention program designed to reduce the opportunity for crime to occur through the active participation of citizens. They are made aware of the importance of communicating and getting to know each other and given crime prevention training and tips.
In order to be successful, the program requires a strong commitment and involvement by homeowners. Through simple techniques, each Neighbourhood Watch member becomes the eyes and ears of the Durham Regional Police Service. Neighbours learn how to protect their families and each other through observation, prevention, and assertive action. Maintaining a vigilance to the potential for crime, and knowing each other's routines, neighbours can combat crime in the most effective way before it starts.
Timely, effective communications between the Neighbourhood Watch and the police service helps protect the community when crime strikes. Watch members are encouraged to talk about problems and concerns among their neighbours, and to report any suspicious activity first to the police, and then to their Street Captain. Regular e-newsletters are distributed which address crime prevention techniques as well as updating the community on recent criminal activity in their area. This promotes ongoing communication, which in turn increases alertness.
Here are the steps: Basically you gather a few neighbours and form a small team, do a house count of the number of homes in your future Neighbourhood Watch, and then divide it up so that each team member has no more than 25 homes. Watch teams are provided with all the tools and training they need to go out and visit the neighbours and obtain their signatures on a petition that they want to be a NW, as well as their contact information so they can receive the crime prevention emails which are sent out to the Watches. Once a participation threshold of 51% has been achieved, a community-wide crime prevention training meeting is held in a local venue (church, school, park, etc). Once the community members get trained then the Watch becomes formally endorsed and is granted permission to install signs at points of ingress to the community (these signs are paid for by the community members collectively, and are not installed until endorsement requirements have been met).
The NW Program Coordinator participates in numerous community events all over Durham Region, and works with groups of interested community members to assist them in organizing their own local Neighbourhood Watches. Furthermore, the Neighbourhood Watch training sessions have been video-taped and are on the DRPS Official You-Tube site, where they can be viewed on an ongoing basis by community members wishing to start or join a Neighbourhood Watch, or simply to refresh their own crime prevention training.
The net result is that thousands of residents throughout Durham Region are being made aware of their role in the community-policing partnership, learning crime prevention techniques and NW communication principles, and becoming more effective in protecting their homes and communities from crime. Once a community starts actively participating in this simple program to watch out for their neighbours they realize that by working together they truly CAN make a difference. This in turn enriches their sense of community, makes them feel safer in the neighbourhoods, and increases their satisfaction with their quality of life.
To find out more about how to start a Neighbourhood Watch in your community, or to join an existing Watch or rejuvenate a dormant one, contact the Regional Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
You can view our four part training video for prospective Neighbourhood Watch Communities Here: