Neighbourhood Watch works when people want to become involved in improving their communities. There aren’t enough policemen to be in all neighbourhoods all of the time, so there is much to be gained when those who live in a community act together to discourage criminals. Community residents often know those who live and work in their neighbourhoods, and they often are to be more likely to identify significant suspicious behaviour. Residents working with law enforcement are more likely to live in neighbourhoods that are safer from crime than neighbourhoods where residents rely upon the police to do everything.
Neighbourhood Watch programs bring neighbours together and restore a healthy sense of community and cooperation among residents. Cooperative community effort is the key to realising our goals.
Becoming an active part of a Neighbourhood Watch enhances your quality of life through allowing communication with your neighbours via text, e-mail and an online portal when any issues or concerns arise. Please make sure to sign up for this wonderful program if you have not already!
We are expanding our efforts to engage with Atlanta communities to help prevent crime. Through this website, we will provide communities with a wealth of information that hopefully will prove useful for those who wish to organise and run effective Neighbourhood Watch programs. Any suggestions on how to make Neighbourhood Watch Atlanta a better resource for those living in the Atlanta area who want to become involved in a Neighbourhood Watch program are welcome!
How to start a neighbourhood watch !
The first step is to meet with your neighbours and explain that you are starting a Neighbourhood Watch program. Make sure to explain the benefits of a neighbourhood watch program and encourage them to attend the start-up meeting. Everyone living in the neighbourhood should be invited to join. Bring up the following points:
- Neighborhood Watch does not require frequent meetings.
- Does not advocate anyone taking any personal risks to prevent crime.
- Neighborhood Watch leaves the responsibility for the apprehension of criminals where it belongs – with Law Enforcement Agencies.
The geographical area of each individual Neighborhood Watch is determined by the resident who is organizing the group with advice and assistance from the local law enforcement representative (Crime Prevention Inspector). The area can range from one block to several city blocks.
The community member should speak with the Crime Prevention Inspector first and then canvass the neighbourhood to see how many of those living there are interested in discussing current crime problems and the benefit of the watch program. Then a date and time must be determined for the first meeting. Contact the Crime Prevention Inspector at least a week or two in advance so that the Inspector can plan to attend your meeting.
Neighbourhood Security Tips !
1. Always monitor your surroundings while entering and exiting your home.
2. 95% of burglaries happen from the back of the home so make sure that this entry is carefully monitored and secured at all times.
3. Cover any gifts that you bring in with non-recognisable bags. Ex: An X-Box One game console in a trash or grocery bag.
Suspicious Activity !
The following is a list of incidents that may be considered suspicious activity. You may want to talk to a neighbor before you notify the police.
- Someone appearing to try to break into a home or car.
- A loiterer who doesn’t belong in the area.
- A strange vehicle or vehicles that park for long periods of time.
- Someone carrying a gun, knife, or other type of weapon.
- Cries of distress, someone screaming.
- The sound of breaking glass.
- People running or showing other signs of panic.
- The Sound of Gunshots.
- Strangers approaching children, offering them gifts or candy, or attempting to lure them into a vehicle.
- Suspicious adults loitering on school grounds.
- A clean car with plates that are obscured by dirt or by some other means, or a car with damaged plates.
- Persons peering into neighborhood cars or windows.
- A person or persons carrying items that look out of the ordinary that could have been stolen.
- Strangers knocking on doors or ringing door bells for what would seem to be no legitimate reason.
Maintaining a NW Program !
Ironically, a successful neighborhood watch program’s tendency to reduce the incidence of crime could lead some neighborhood watch participants to conclude that the program is no longer necessary. Sometimes, to provide more incentive for residents to continue to attend neighborhood watch meetings, it is a good idea to broaden the scope of the meetings.
Topics discussed in neighbourhood watch meetings could include the general quality of life and safety in the neighbourhood. You may want to work with your city council representative to have additional lights or traffic signs put into place where they are needed. You might want to plan activities that improve the appearance of your community, such as converting a vacant lot into a park or playground. Involved neighbours make good neighbours and they foster a healthy community for all.
How to Report a Crime !
Neighborhood Watch participants are primarily the eyes and ears of law enforcement. In almost all cases, direct intervention or involvement is to be avoided.
- Identify yourself, and give the operator your name, your address, and your telephone number.
- Tell the operator the nature of the crime you are reporting, for example, theft, vandalism, a break in, etc.
- Say whether the crime is “in progress” or has already occurred.
- Provide a description of the suspect or suspects, the number of suspects involved in criminal activity, and if they are armed. Write this information down ASAP.
- Provide descriptions of any vehicles involved in the crime, including make and model if known, color, license plate number, etc… Write this information down ASAP.
- If you observed the suspects departing the crime scene, give the operator the direction in which they were headed.
- After you have finished your call to the police, if the crime is still in progress, call a neighbor so that they can also watch the suspect.
When describing a suspect to the police, try to remember as many details as possible. Try to remember the following:
- Sex, race, height, weight or skin color
- Build – muscular, thin, blocked shoulders, slump shoulders
- Face shape (round, square, type of nose or chin, etc.)
- Hair color, length, and style
- Facial hair
- Glasses or no glasses, the type of glasses
- Distinguishing marks, tattoos, or piercings
- Head covering – hat style (baseball cap, skull cap, du-rag, etc.)
- Unique traits such as unusual speech patterns or an unusual gate
Let them know you mean business !
Add security and style to your neighbourhood with the addition of cameras! These can be placed anywhere you would like and are designed for outdoor weather if desired. The cameras can also be tied into your wireless system so that you can view what is taking place at any moment from your phone or computer. We would recommend the LTS security camera as they are quite reliable and you can find a helpful review for it here.