Neighborhood Watch / Survey
The threat, fear and intimidation caused by the criminal element are one of the most compelling problems facing society today. While the police department is technically responsible for the prevention of crime and the apprehension of offenders, there are obvious limitations to what we can do without strong public cooperation and support.
“ Get involved or be involved.”
Our Neighborhood Watch Program is designed to open the lines of communication between the police department and the community. By educating the community in home security techniques, operation identification and neighborhood watch concepts we can collectively reduce criminal opportunity. Crime Prevention, like charity, begins at home. The old, well-established neighborhood has been replaced by a highly transient, growing community where people seek more and more privacy. This lifestyle tends to promote unfamiliarity with neighbors and a corresponding lack of concern. Unfortunately, this enhances the opportunities for the criminal element and increases the community’s vulnerability to crime.
Crime is dependent on three components:
These three components when added together form the crime triangle. Take away any part of the triangle and you reduce crime. Desire is hard to remove from the equation, but anyone can remove the ability or opportunity if the Neighborhood Watch Program is adopted and made part of our lifestyle. You, your family and neighbors, and the police department, can be an insurmountable barrier for even the cleverest criminal.
There are four components of Neighborhood Watch:
- Communication between police and the community; Increasing citizen awareness of crime through continuing information sharing. Training citizens in the means of better personal awareness and assisting them in being secure.
- Target Hardening: Securing doors and windows and property with proven security hardware and techniques.
- Operation Identification: Recording serial numbers and engraving high dollar items.
- Being a Block Watcher: Reporting crime, suspicious situations, vehicles and people to the police.
NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH SHOULD BE THOUGHT OF AS LONG TERM!
Organizers, Block Captains and Block Watchers should be replaced as transition takes place in the community. Volunteers need to step up and take over when needed. This program depends on volunteers and support from the members of the community.
The five steps to getting started:
- Take a poll or census of your community to verify if the majority is supportive of Neighborhood Watch.
- Identify who will be the organizers of the Watch Program.
- Organizers should solicit and appoint Block Captains (1 per 12-15 homes or units).
- Organizers and Block Captains set an informal meeting to discuss how best to develop geographic boundaries of the Watch Program.
- Once steps 1 through 4 have been completed call the Gaithersburg Police Department and set a formal meeting for the entire community to attend. An officer will respond and conduct a Neighborhood Watch Meeting. Crime statistics for the neighborhood will be shared along with other information about working with the police.
The Gaithersburg Police Department offers the below listed materials to assist in the Neighborhood Watch Program.
- “What is suspicious” flyer informs the block watcher of suspicious activities to be reported to the police.
- Burglary Prevention Booklet explains to the homeowner how to secure their home.
- “Operation Identification” Flyer and Decals explain how and where to engrave property and how to place decals on doors and windows to deter thieves.
- Neighborhood Watch Signs placed on neighborhood boundaries. The signs do not stop crime but do warn potential criminals that they are being watched and will be reported to the police by the community.
- Brochures on a variety of crime prevention topics.
Follow-up assistance will also be provided upon request by the police department.
Community representatives interested in participating in the Neighborhood Watch Program may contact the Gaithersburg Police Department Community Services Office at 301-258-6168 or firstname.lastname@example.org