Start a Block Watch
Neighborhood Watch, Block Watch, Town Watch, Crime Watch - whatever the name, it's one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear. Neighborhood Watch fights the isolation that crime both creates and feeds upon. It forges bonds among area residents, helps reduce burglaries and robberies, and improves relations between police and the communities they serve.
If you live within the city limits of Lynnwood we can help you plan an effective block watch meeting. Contact the Lynnwood Police Crime Prevention Unit at 425-670-5639 or 425-670-5635 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The ABC's of a Block Watch
Any community resident can join - young and old, single and married, renter and home owner. A few concerned residents, a community organization, or a law enforcement agency can spearhead the effort to organize a Block Watch. Members learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for each other and the neighborhood, and report to police activities that raise their suspicions. You can form a Block Watch group around any geographical unit; a block, apartment, park, business area, public housing complex, office, marina.
Watch groups are not vigilantes. They are extra eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors. An effective Block Watch group can help build pride and serves as a springboard for efforts that address community concerns such as recreation for youth, child care, and affordable housing.
When a group decides to form a Neighborhood Watch, it:
- Contacts the police or sheriff's department or local crime prevention organization for help in training members in home security and reporting skills and for information on local crime patterns.
- Selects a coordinator and block captains who are responsible for organizing meetings and relaying information to members.
- Recruits members, keeping up-to-date on new residents and making special efforts to involve the elderly, working parents, and young people.
- Works with local government or law enforcement to put up Neighborhood Watch signs.
Neighbors Look For...
- Someone screaming or shouting for help.
- Someone looking into windows and parked cars.
- Unusual noises.
- Property being taken out of houses where no one is at home or closed businesses.
- Cars, vans, or trucks moving slowly with no apparent destination, or without lights.
- Anyone being forced into a vehicle.
- A stranger sitting in a car or stopping to talk to a child.
- Abandoned cars.
How To Report
Report these incidents to the police.
- Give your name and address.
- Briefly describe the event - what happened, when, where, and who was involved.
- Describe the suspect: sex and race, age, height, weight, hair color, clothing, distinctive characteristics such as beard, mustache, scars, or accent.
- Describe the vehicle if one was involved: color, make, model, year, license plate number, and special features such as stickers, dents, or decals.
It's and unfortunate fact that when a neighborhood crime crisis goes away, so does enthusiasm for Neighborhood Watch. Work to keep your Watch group a vital force for community well-being.
Tips for Success!
Set regular meetings that focus on current issues such as drug abuse, "hate" or bias-motivated violence, crime in schools, child care before and after school, recreational activities for young people, and victim services. Conduct community patrols to walk around streets or apartment complexes and alert police to crime and suspicious activities and identify problems needing attention. People in cars with cellular phones or CB radios can patrol.
Adopt a park or school playground. Pick up litter, repair broken equipment, paint over graffiti.
Contact local building code officials to require dead bolt locks, smoke alarms, and other safety devices in new and existing homes and commercial buildings.
Publish a newsletter that gives prevention tips and local crime news, recognizes residents of all ages who have "made a difference," and highlights community events. Don't forget social events that gives neighbors a chance to know each other - block party, potluck dinner, volleyball or softball game, picnic.
Work with parent groups and schools to start a McGruff House* or other block parent programs (to help children in emergency situations.)
*A McGruff House is a reliable source for children in emergency or frightening situations. For information call 801 486-8768.
Crime prevention tips from:
National Crime Prevention Council
1700 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006-3817
Visit Their Web Site At: http://www.weprevent.org