Last week at SACK sponsored Coffee with a Cop, Kanabec County Sheriff Brian Smith engaged local residents in a conversation about the Neighborhood Watch program! With National Night Out just around the corner the topic of suspicious persons and activities combined with prevention are on the mind of many!
Neighborhood Watch is one of the oldest and best known crime prevention concepts in North America. In the late 1960s, an increase in crime heightened the need for a crime prevention initiative focused on residential areas that involved local citizens. The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) responded by creating the National Neighborhood Watch in 1972. The foundation of the Neighborhood Watch program is the sharing of information, training, technical support, and resources provided to local law enforcement agencies and citizens.
As the name implies the goal of the program is for neighbors to watch our for other neighbors and report suspicious persons or activities. How do you start a neighborhood watch program in your neighborhood? There are five steps to building a successful neighborhood watch program:
- Recruit and organize as many neighbors as possible.
- Contact Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office to request a meeting to register your neighborhood with the NW program.
- After the program is registered, your group will meet with a deputy from the Sheriff’s Office who will be assigned to your neighborhood/group.
- Decide as a group when to hold regular meetings. These can be monthly, quarterly, or as often as you decide. These are informal meeting where the group discusses any issues with Law Enforcement and with each other.
- Implement an action plan. Sharing phone numbers, addresses and emergency contact information.
A successful Neighborhood Watch program involves more than just reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement. To keep your neighborhood group active by being creative! Plan neighborhood garage sales, exercise or walking groups, neighborhood clean up, and even block parties! A Neighborhood Watch program can help prevent crimes from happening and ultimately maintains a sense of safety in your neighborhood.
For questions about the Neighborhood Watch program please contact the Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office at (320) 679-8400.