Are you worried about crime in your neighborhood?
You are not alone. Most likely your neighbors are concerned too.
How does a Neighborhood Watch work?
It works by showing residents they are not powerless against crime. Neighborhood Watch is a series of programs designed to promote neighborhood safety in response to the growth of residential areas and the crime rate increase that results from such growth. The main focus of Neighborhood Watch is crime prevention at the neighborhood level. However, traffic problems, street/yard cleanup, noise control and unwanted solicitation are other issues dealt with through Neighborhood Watch. In conjunction with these programs, the police are relying on you to do your part in the protection of yourself, your family, and your property. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to establish adequate home security in addition to practicing good safety habits.
A Neighborhood Watch Program can provide:
- Crime Prevention Training: For example, a watch group can invite law enforcement and security experts to speak about safety measures.
- Victim Assistance: Watch groups can provide support by helping crime victims contact the police or sheriff and local victim-assistance programs.
- Improving Conditions: Neighborhood neglect invites crime. Organize cleanups and work with local government to get abandoned buildings and vacant lots fixed up.
Neighborhood Watches don’t replace law enforcement. Working with the police is important!
How to start a Neighborhood Watch:
- Meet with your neighbors: Share concerns about crime.
- Inform the Owensboro Police Department: Call 687-8828 and let them know you plan to form a watch group. They can provide crime prevention information, training, and Neighborhood Watch signs for public display.
- Make a plan: Define your territory, set priorities and elect officers. Divide up tasks to avoid 1 or 2 people doing all the work.
You can help law enforcement by looking out for suspicious activity:
- A vehicle making slow, repeated trips through the neighborhood
- A stranger hanging around parking lots, going door-to-door or jogging in street clothes
- Unusual noises
- Property being removed from a home when residents aren’t there
Know how to report your suspicions:
- Give the police a physical description, including sex, race and approximate size and age
- A direction of travel
- License plate number and state
- Make, model and color of vehicle
Your watch group can target specific problems:
- Drug dealers: Report drug activity – never confront anyone on your own. Organize anti-drug rallies.
- Vandalism: Painting over graffiti right away.
- Break-ins: Consider installing more lighting around homes and areas of high vandalism. Promote home security inspections. Step up efforts to keep an eye on each other’s homes.
- Violence against children: Choose “safe houses” on each block where children can go if they are afraid. Have “block parents” – trusted adults at home during the day who can watch out for children on their blocks.
- Assault: Offer escorts for the elderly or others when they have to walk alone in the neighborhood. Cut back trees and shrubs where attackers could hide. Push for improved street lighting.
- Family Violence: Neighbors should contact a family violence hotline or local crisis shelter about the best way to report family abuse.
Call the OPD Crime Prevention Unit at 687-8828 to find out if there is an organized Neighborhood Watch program in your area.