Learn More About Neighborhood Watches

If you’re interested in forming a neighborhood watch, you probably have a couple of questions about how to go about it. But first things first: what even is a neighborhood watch?


The biggest thing to know about a neighborhood watch is that it’s created by and for the community. The concept is that a community knows about its own needs best. When the community comes together in order to keep an eye out for threats, it’s easier than ever to keep that particular area free of crime. With the information you’re able to share with each other, you can keep your own community safe.

Additionally, neighborhood watches don’t always have to be exclusively about crime. A neighborhood watch can also clean up litter, keep an eye out for suspicious activity, and notice new patterns around the neighborhood. Think about it like organizing your neighborhood more formally. You’ll be able to band together rather than stand apart and blame each other for issues.

Partnering With Law Enforcement

Neighborhood watches that focus largely on crime prevention are very important, and partnering with law enforcement can be a great way to do that. Some suburban areas have a problem with a lack of law enforcement presence, so a neighborhood watch can genuinely be very helpful for local law enforcement and your nearby neighbors. Many law enforcement agencies are more than happy to hear of neighborhood watches.

When you partner with law enforcement in your area, it can also make it easier for you to establish a neighborhood watch to begin with. Law enforcement usually has lots of resources, and those resources can be very helpful in this endeavor. Whether it’s a place to hold meetings or videos about safety training, make sure you ask whether there’s anything your local law enforcement can do to help.

Great for Small Neighborhoods

Generally, larger neighborhoods tend to have more of an official watch presence. Law enforcement naturally gravitate toward these larger neighborhoods because crime tends to center more heavily on areas with higher populations. But of course, small neighborhoods also need security. That’s where a neighborhood watch comes in.

If your small neighborhood is hurting for security, a neighborhood watch can fill in the gaps. The good news is also that smaller neighborhoods tend to have an easier time setting up a neighborhood watch because everyone tends to know everyone else. It’s a genuinely good way to bump up your neighborhood’s security quotient.

Can I Form a Neighborhood Watch Program?

Once you’ve decided that a neighborhood watch program could be very helpful for you, it’s time to focus on whether you actually can establish one in your area.

Consult Local Law Enforcement

A good first step is to talk with your local law enforcement offices. If they have experience with neighborhood watches, they’ll be able to lay out everything you need in order to form a successful neighborhood watch. Even if they don’t have any firsthand experience with the topic, they may be able to point you wherever you need to go.

This also lays the groundwork for getting local law enforcement involved in your neighborhood watch once you’ve set it up. You can show your local law enforcement officers that you’re interested in creating a partnership from the very beginning, and that’s a good way to create a favorable first impression.

Comply With All Local Regulations

Depending on the area in which you live, you might need to comply with certain local regulations regarding neighborhood watches. This could include registering with the state, taking certain courses, or just staying in touch with the local law enforcement in your area. It’s fairly easy to stay in line with local regulations as long as you know they exist.

The best way to determine whether these regulations do exist is to again go back to the local law enforcement in your area. You can also call the judicial headquarters in your area and ask if there’s anything to know about establishing a neighborhood watch. Various sources can point you toward laws both on a city level and state level regarding neighborhood watch programs.

Talk to Potential Neighborhood Watch Members

A neighborhood watch works best if everyone’s genuinely involved. You need to make sure that there’s a sense of community before you actually start with neighborhood watch responsibilities. When the people inside the community care about each other, they’re more likely to want to protect each other, which means they’re also more likely to actually pitch in when you establish a neighborhood watch program.

To start creating a sense of community in your area, consider throwing a neighborhood get-together. You can get to know your neighbors and allow everyone in the area to hang out a little bit and bond. By planting just the smallest seeds of community, it’s likely that the people near you will be receptive to the idea of forming a neighborhood watch.

What Can I Do to Keep a Neighborhood Watch Program Safe?

A neighborhood watch program should keep you and your community safe. So how do you make sure that your program is safe from the very start?

Screen Potential Members

First, you need to make sure that potential members of the neighborhood watch program are safe people individually. The PeopleFinders background check can help you do just that, by revealing facts about people’s past. With this information regarding each person, you can rest assured that only the safest are involved with your neighborhood watch program.

Although it’s true that court records don’t always show the whole story, they’re incredible when it comes to determining whether you can trust an individual. All you have to do is perform a criminal records check, and you might get a pretty good idea of whether you can trust someone who wants to join. If you see anything you’re not sure about, you just have to ask the person in question.

Check Your Neighborhood Crime Statistics

If you live in a neighborhood with very little crime, your neighborhood watch program will probably be more centered on the socialization and maintenance side of things. On the other hand, if you have a significant problem with crime, that will be the likely focus. A neighborhood watch program can genuinely be helpful for either or both aspects, but you need to know which problem you’re trying to work through.

When you use PeopleFinders to perform an address lookup, it’s easy to see what’s happening in the area around you. Just look up your own address, and your neighbors’ addresses. You can get a lot of information from an address lookup, including your own property value and the values of homes around you, your school district and other community information, and even whether there are any sex offenders in the neighborhood near you. It’s crucial information for a neighborhood watch program.

Be Prepared, Not Paranoid

It’s very important to remember that paranoia doesn’t help a neighborhood watch program develop and flourish. You shouldn’t establish a neighborhood watch program just because you’re paranoid that something bad will happen if you don’t. You should establish it because you want it to benefit the community around you and help to build a stronger community as a whole.

With the various tools from PeopleFinders, you can be prepared without becoming paranoid. There are lots of tools that you can use to find out whether there are criminals in your immediate vicinity. Then you can use those same tools to develop a neighborhood watch program that tackles those potential issues before they even start. When you need the right tools for a security job, no matter what that job may be, PeopleFinders can definitely help.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I setup a neighborhood watch using peoplefinders.com?

You want to be able to trust any neighborhood watch participants. PeopleFinders can help you by offering background information--criminal records, sex offender status, and so on--to determine if someone should or should not be a member.

How do I start a neighborhood watch?

To start a neighborhood watch, you want to first speak with your other neighbors to determine the demand and the participation you can expect. Then, you should talk to local law enforcement; always good to keep them in the loop, and they can provide helpful information and assistance.

What is a neighborhood watch?

A neighborhood watch is essentially a group of neighbors dedicated to keeping an eye out for illegal activities in their community, and working together to do so.

Is neighborhood watch effective?

It can be, especially in neighborhoods where the potential for criminal activity outweighs the amount of law enforcement resources. Members can also identify and report crime quicker.

What is a neighborhood watch captain?

A neighborhood watch block captain organizes the efforts of a group of watch members. Other essential roles are the neighborhood coordinator and a law enforcement liaison.

How do I register a neighborhood watch?

After you have your neighborhood watch organized, leadership assigned, and a formal relationship established with law enforcement, you can officially register your neighborhood watch at National Neighborhood Watch. At the same time, you can get signage/decals for the neighborhood.

What do you do in a neighborhood watch?

Most of the time, it's just be watchful. It also entails sharing information with neighbors, learning more about home security, and being willing to report suspicious activities to the police.

What Is a Neighborhood Watch?