NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH - Safety & Education - Prevention Tips For Your Home: Keep your doors and windows locked. Keep your yard neat and your landscaping trimmed. Leave your front light on at night or install motion sensor lights. Your front door should be solid core (not hollow) or consider purchasing a steel security screen door. Keep your garage door closed. Thieves can steal your mail and commit identity theft crimes. Don't use the mailbox in front of your house to mail bills with checks in them. When you move, re-key the locks of your new home. Don't hide keys in obvious places such as under a mat or on top of a doorframe. Use your peephole before opening the door. Disable and lock your RV/Motorhome so it can't be easily moved. Lock and secure bicycles when parked - even if in the garage. Any firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet out of sight. Remove a working part from the firearm and store the ammunition separately. Lock up your lawn equipment such as lawnmowers, blowers, and trimmers in a secured area. For your car: Keep the doors locked even when you are driving. Consider using a deterrent device such as the 'club', steering wheel column, alarm, or starter interrupt switch. Don't leave the garage door opener on the visor or anywhere that it can be seen. Thieves will take your garage door opener so that they can commit an easy burglary as well. Don't leave valuables in your car. If you MUST, lock them in the trunk. Park your car in the garage. If no garage – LOCK ALL THE DOORS. When you're planning a vacation: Have a friend or neighbor pick up the mail and newspaper – contact the paper to stop delivery; and the post office to hold your mail. Make sure someone is checking the house. Make arrangements to have the lawn cut and the garbage put out. Have timers set up to turn on lights, TV and radios at random times throughout the day to make the home look and seem lived in. Use a photo sensitive motion sensor light for an outside light to make the home appear occupied. Stop all deliveries. Put valuables such as jewelry, large sums of cash and documents in a safe deposit box. Neighborhood Watch Concepts/Organization Scotts Mills Neighborhood Watch Assn. – In partnership with Marion County Sheriff’s Office since approximately 1984. Community and Police Working Together Every neighborhood has its own personality that makes it unique. What works in one area, may not work in another. When starting a Neighborhood Watch be creative and include others on your team. Remember that there is strength in numbers. Criminal justice professionals readily admit that in the absence of citizen assistance, neither more manpower, nor improved technology, nor additional money will enable law enforcement to shoulder the monumental burden of combating crime in America. Teamwork between neighbors—and law enforcement — is what Neighborhood Watch is all about. The Basics A simple program, Neighborhood Watch is dedicated to improving the quality of life in your neighborhood. The foundation of the program is built upon citizens and police working in partnership. Basically, a Neighborhood Watch is a cohesive body of concerned citizens coming together to address common issues that affect their neighborhood. The goal of the ―Leadership‖ to facilitate communication between residents by conducting initial neighborhood meetings. During the meeting residents learn about neighborhood crime statistics, personal and home safety information and are provided and/or referred to crime prevention materials. It empowers the citizens of the neighborhood or community and helps to reduce their chances of being victimized by crime through education and teamwork. Why Neighborhood Watch? Whether you live in a high crime area or not, a comprehensive Neighborhood Watch program offers numerous benefits for your area. Such programs instill a greater sense of security, well-being, and reduce the fear of crime in your neighborhood. Neighborhood Watch helps instill a greater ―sense of community,‖ by putting the neighbor back into neighborhood. Here are some of the other benefits you can expect by participating in a local Neighborhood Watch program: Reducing the risk of being a crime victim Being better prepared to respond to suspicious activity Increased information on issues that impact your neighborhood The possibility of obtaining Neighborhood Watch signs or other ‗deterrent‘ information Getting to know your neighbors Reducing the fear of crime and making your neighborhood more livable How much work is involved? This is a fair question and the answer depends on you. Some areas have major concerns, requiring some work; others just want to maintain their area and don‘t want to spend a great deal of time on it. In order to be recognized as an ―active‖ Neighborhood Watch group, you must have at least two (2) meetings within a calendar year. More often is better. These could include general informational meetings, community clean-up days, ice cream social, BBQ, educational program, etc. Also annually Neighborhood Watch audit paperwork must be updated. Your program may opt to become a registered non-profit – to allow for tax deductible donations. The role of the Neighborhood Watch Captain/President The Neighborhood Watch captain serves as the coordinator and liaison of the group. It is up to the Neighborhood Watch captain to serve as a spokesperson, schedule group activities, supply your CAT representative with required information, and coordinate neighborhood activities and communication. Likewise, the captain should: Maintain a list of all members Develop, maintain and distribute neighborhood maps for your area including names, addresses, and telephone numbers Set up a communication network for your area such as a telephone tree Distribute information sent received from local law enforcement or other pertinent materials. Greet new neighbors, encourage them to join, and update the neighborhood watch list Maintain sign in sheets of the Neighborhood Watch activities The role of the members Everyone in the Neighborhood Watch plays an important part in the success of the program! Members should learn the names of their neighbors and the kinds of cars they drive. They should keep a copy of the Neighborhood Watch map and telephone tree readily accessible. In fact, the role of individual members includes attending meetings, watching out for suspicious activity, displaying Neighborhood Watch signs when available, and assisting the police by learning how to become a good witness. Depending on the set up in your local community, you may be part of a "Citizen Patrol" - with random drive-arounds or walk- arounds in your area. In any situation, ALL community members should be taking on the concept of being the 'eyes and ears' of law enforcement for their local community - and a voice toward prevention of violence and crime. Above all, being a member means getting involved. If you don‘t do it, who will? Neighborhood Watch is quite simply the most effective way to reduce or prevent crime while improving the quality of life in your neighborhood.
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