How to Form a Neighborhood Watch
Many areas throughout the country experience an increase in crime rates during the warmer months, including Chicago. One important measure to help keep neighborhoods and families safe is to establish a neighborhood watch group. Pangea Properties, a private REIT based in Chicago, has made it a priority to create safe neighborhoods for residents. CEO Steve Joung shares a few tips for crime proofing an area:
Recruit Help: Go door-to-door in the community and see what others have experienced crime wise and if there is any interest in establishing a watch group. Write down names and contact information for individuals who are willing to assist. Bring up the idea at the next association meeting or start an email chain to coordinate meetings if there is not an established neighborhood association.
Work with Local Representatives: Contact local police officers to see if they have any advice, training techniques and if they can speak at a meeting to discuss tactics with the neighborhood watch group members. In addition, building a presence with the local government officials can have a significant impact on the community’s outlook.
Establish Leaders: Create captains or block leaders at the first meeting. These individuals will take a larger role in the neighborhood watch, including assisting in the organization of meetings, communicating information to members and the community, acting as a spokesperson for the group and as a liaison with local law enforcement officials.
Distribute Materials: Prepare a flier, newsletter or email that provides information about the neighborhood watch’s mission and goals to all residents. Include the procedure for reporting a crime, how to partake in the communication system, who the leaders are, upcoming meetings, etc. Make sure the newsletter is distributed on a regular basis to keep all residents informed and active.
Outline Responsibilities: Secure commitments from residents attending the initial neighborhood watch group meeting. Don’t pressure people into participating, but take commitments from those who actually want to see the program succeed.