How to Form a Neighborhood Watch Team

teammember.jpg

In Neighborhood Watch 101 we discuss the Neighborhood Watch team. We’re going to review the roles in this team, look at team activities, and discuss strategies for helping your group grow. Assigning Roles

Assigning roles within a group is important. Why is that? The assignment of roles outlines clearly-defined tasks and responsibilities and establishes authority and boundaries. When everyone understands his or her role, there is less confusion, and teamwork efforts are enhanced.

The Neighborhood Watch Team has four components:

  • Law Enforcement Liaison
  • Area Coordinator
  • Block Captain
  • Watch Member

All of these positions are important to the success of the program. Let’s take a closer look at each position, and the responsibilities assigned to it.

Responsibilities: Law Enforcement Liaison

The Law Enforcement Liaison is the link between law enforcement and citizens. The liaison provides the following services to citizens:

  • Offers training and information on topics of interest or concern to members
  • Provides guidance, support and motivation to Neighborhood Watch groups
  • Provides technical assistance

Responsibilities: Area Coordinator

The Area Coordinator is a citizen volunteer position. The Coordinator responsibilities include:

  • Serve as liaison between members, law enforcement, civic groups and block captain
  • Arrange neighborhood crime prevention training
  • Obtain and distribute crime prevention materials
  • Involve others in specific crime prevention projects

[cta headline="Neighborhood Watch 101" buttontext="Purchase!" buttonlink="http://communitysafetyinstitute.org/neighborhood-watch-book/" ] Neighborhood Watch 101 is a comprehensive guide for both law enforcement officers who are charged with overseeing local Neighborhood Watch initiatives and for citizens who are interested in volunteering or leading a local Neighborhood Watch group. [/cta]

Responsibilities: Block Captain

The Block Captain is also a citizen volunteer position. He or she:

  • Serves as spokesperson for the group
  • Organizes meetings
  • Maintains a list of participants
  • Arranges training programs
  • Designates work assignments
  • Distributes materials
  • Acts as liaison between group members and law enforcement

Responsibilities: Neighborhood Watch Team Members

The last position we will look at is the watch member. Watch members are responsible for:

  • Attending meetings
  • Reporting suspicious or criminal activity
  • Helping recruit new members
  • Practicing safety measures at home and in community
  • Supporting captain and other leaders in their roles

 Neighborhood Watch Members

Neighborhood Watch members have several responsibilities. One of the most important things a member can do is to remain active. An active member will help create and maintain a level of excitement about the program. This will help recruit more members, which will lead to a higher level of crime prevention.

It is the responsibility of members to stay informed about issues in their neighborhood and community.  This information can come from neighborhood assessments and/or crime statistics kept by local law enforcement. This information should be shared with others to keep members motivated and to prevent the group from becoming stagnant.

Partners

A partner is any formal or organized group that a NW group affiliates with to improve safety, security and quality of life.  Neighborhood Watch partners can be citizen groups and/or city or regional government agencies. These groups will provide information, resources and support to existing groups. They help broaden the scope of Neighborhood Watch groups and help to coordinate responses for neighborhood issues.

Some potential partners could be:

  • VIPS (Volunteers in Police Services)
  • CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams)
  • TRIAD (partnerships of law enforcement, older adults, and community groups)
  • Citizen Corps
  • Local fire, EMS and police, Parks and Recreation, Code Enforcement, Public Works, Health and Social Services
  • Local news media