Strong and Healthy Neighborhoods
We all value a sense of security as a vital feature of the neighborhoods where we live. A sizeable number of us (about one in four) enjoy building the formal and informal links that strengthen safety. People are willing to join together to increase neighborhood cohesion; neighbors who now and look out for each other, are among the strongest features of safer neighborhoods, according to researchers at Harvard University. Safety and security is ranked one of the most essential human needs.
What is Block Watch?
Block watch is simply a program of neighbors watching other neighbor’s property. At all times when you are at home, be alert to what’s going on in your neighborhood. A deputy patrolling your community may not recognize a stranger in your yard but your neighbors would.
How does the program work?
The Program works through cooperation - NEIGHBORS WATCHING OUT FOR NEIGHBORS. Neighbors know who you are and what type of car you own. They may be the first to notice a burglar at your window or door. Each neighbor can effectively watch those homes to each side, the front and back of his own home.
The Block Watch program is not intended to form citizen crime watch patrols or vigilante groups You are only asked to report the situation to the Sheriff’s Office and let them handle it. It is not a good idea to confront any suspicious person or attempt arrest yourself; your safety could be in jeopardy.
What are the Benefits?
Some of the benefits include:
- Unites the community and increases neighborhood cohesion.
- Reduces fear of crime in the community.
- Improves crime reporting by citizens.
- Increases surveillance in the community.
- Prevents and reduces crime.
- Enhances homeland security.
Studies show that Block Watch is effective because:
- It brings neighbors together around a common cause - safety and security.
- It provides basic skills to all members on preventing crime and reporting suspicious activity or crimes.
- It builds a base for correcting neighborhood problems.
- It works well with other civic activities.
Block Watch works!
In Birmingham, AL.: Thirteen out of fifteen neighborhoods had experienced high rates of burglary.
After Block Watch started, twelve of fifteen had no burglaries.
In Lakewood, CO.: Burglaries dropped 77 percent after Block Watch was implemented.
Cypress, CA. experienced a 52 percent reduction of burglaries and a 45 percent reduction in
thefts. This program saved police an estimated seventy-nine thousand dollars.
Block Watch is a community based program supported by the National Sheriffs’ Association and offered by better than nine out of ten law enforcement agencies. Since its inception in 1972, thousands of communities have established Block Watches and made a REAL difference.
Other programs, same concept
The same concepts that guide a Block Watch program can be applied to like programs for businesses and rural areas. Business Watch uses the same principals but with businesses instead of neighborhoods. Likewise, farm and rural areas may institute the same program with Rural Watch or Farm Watch. This same concept could also be expanded to colleges, parks or large apartment complexes or condos.
The Crime Prevention Unit of the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, stand ready to assist you in forming any of these programs. Please contact our office and ask to be put in touch with one of our Crime Prevention Unit deputies.