A Neighborhood Watch is intended to help protect all our families, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. Communication between neighbors is the only way for a Neighborhood Watch to work. Start by making a phone tree. We must find out what has happened to or near you to stop the suspects from striking again. First and foremost, report all suspicious activity and crimes to the Salinas Police Department: Emergency 911 and Non-Emergency 758-7321. Believe me they want to hear from you.
Are you and your neighbors talking about forming a Neighborhood Watch? Start by contacting the Salinas Police Department. View SPD’s Guidelines for a Neighborhood Watch Program . Use this Check List to build a NW. For more information contact the Salinas Police Community Services Unit at (831) 758-7247 from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Do you already have a Neighborhood Watch, Home Owner’s Association, or Neighborhood Association / Group? Please register it with the SNC. We are here to provide a network to help make your group successful in protecting your neighbors or forming a new group or association.
Vigilance is the key word in Crime Prevention. You are the front line of protection against crime. You have the power to stop crime. Report Criminal Acts or Suspicious Activity to the Salinas Police Department 758-7321. Gather as much information as you can about what you see. Use the Describe A Suspects or Vehicle Form Let your neighbors know about crime or suspected criminal activity. We can be Victims or Crime Fighters. It is up to you.
Visibility is another key word. If you want to do more for your neighbors start a Citizen Patrol and wear a yellow vest with honor as you walk or ride around your neighborhood. What are you looking for and who do you call?
Neighborhood Watch programs are formed by NEIGHBORS who are concerned with protecting family and friends. There is a huge benefit in building a watch program and that is Community Building by getting to know your neighbors. A NW can be a few homes or an entire neighborhood.
There must be open communication in a Neighborhood Watch. Major companies have a head quarters, branch offices, and field offices. A NW is similar to the Salinas Police Department having a chain of command. The big difference is there is not a CEO or Chief. A NW is formed by neighbors bonding together forming a cohesive volunteer group with a goal to build a safe and sound community. Here is a BIG Tip about how any organization like a Neighborhood Watch can work if you follow these guidelines when it comes to Leadership and Helping Others Succeed.
Organizing a Watch Group
- Call the Salinas Police Department at (831) 758-7247 from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. A Police Department representative will help set up a meeting in your neighborhood. They will make a flier for you to give to your neighbors about this meeting.
During Your First Meeting
- With the help of the Salinas Police Department define the boundaries of your Neighborhood Watch based on natural geography and visibility/surveillance capabilities. Groups that are too large make it difficult for neighbors to know one another. Large groups also make it difficult for information to flow smoothly and quickly to all residents.
- Choose who will help get the word out to all neighbors to schedule another meeting.
- The second meeting should have all neighbors there along with the Salinas Police Department. Decisions are made to start a coordinated effort to form your new Neighborhood Watch.
Chain of Command
- Starting at the bottom and working up is the key to success. Like they say do not have too many chiefs and not enough Indians. The neighbors are the front line of defense for building a safe neighborhood.
- Ask for volunteers to be Block Captains who have a few houses or a block. An open line of communication is established to provide information about suspicious behavior or crimes in the neighborhood by visiting with the neighbors, sending out an email, or calling them using your phone tree.
- The Block Captains must form a board and not have a “Board of Directors”. They should decide who the liaison is between the Salinas Police Department and the NW. They should meet once a month.
- The BCs will ask neighbors to volunteer to do events, make signs, do a newsletter, build a web site … this list can go on and on.
- Of course donations and fundraising are necessary. It is up the neighbors how they want to support their Neighborhood Watch.
- A Neighborhood Watch cannot work without of course the neighbors participation.
- You must communicate with the entire neighborhood not just the active members. That is the only way to build your organization. Everyone must know what you have done, are doing, and plan to do.
Neighborhood Watch programs fail due to lack of participation. View how to Help Your NW Grow. In order to have an effective neighborhood watch campaign the majority of the community needs to be involved and active. Do not count on Signs and Stickers to deter Crime. Neighborhood Watch programs succeed when there is ample participation, proper training and regular action by those that stand to gain the most. Getting to know your neighbors and caring for them is critical to making the neighborhood watch an important part of people’s lives, so that they become committed to service, not because of obligation, but out of genuine care and love for their fellow man and neighborhood.
- Schedule several neighborhood get-togethers a year such as a BBQ, Ice Cream Socials, Block Parties, or Swap Meets.
- Have several large events by all neighbors such as a Picnic In The Park or participate in the Neighborhood Night Out that is held yearly all over the United States.
- Invite a representative from the Police Department to address a group on such topics as personal safety, child safety, and G.R.E.A.T.
- Invite a firefighter to address the group and the children of the neighborhood on fire prevention and fire safety
- Encourage Operation Identification working with the Salinas Police Department.
- Greet and welcome new neighbors. Invite them to be part of your Watch.
- Disseminate information to neighbors such as crime patterns in the area. Also, let others know about neighbors who are on vacation or attending a function listed in the newspaper such as a wedding or funeral.
What are you waiting for? Get started today to form a new neighborhood watch, revive an old one, or help the one you have grow.