What is Neighborhood Watch?
A Neighborhood Watch program is a group of people living in the same area who want to make their neighborhood safer. They accomplish this by working together and in conjunction with local law enforcement to reduce crime and improve their quality of life. Neighborhood Watch groups have regular meetings to plan how they will accomplish their specific goals and have leaders with assigned responsibilities.
Activities conducted by Neighborhood Watch groups across the country are as diverse and varied as their volunteers and the neighborhoods they represent. Some groups mobilize to patrol neighborhoods or organize neighborhood cleanups, others distribute crime prevention information, and others conduct business assessments or home security surveys. As our law enforcement officers learn the needs of the various Neighborhood Watch groups and the dynamics of their volunteers, we can tailor activities and responses to meet those needs.
If you are interested in organizing a Neighborhood Watch group in your area, follow the steps below:
- Talk to your neighbors to find out who is interested (50 percent community involvement is required). This can be accomplished two ways:
- Have an in-person meeting where at least 50% of your community or HOA is present and would like to participate.
- Organize over email. The Flower Mound Police Department can develop a training document and have representatives from the interested community or HOA send it out to their neighbors. Those interested are asked to respond to the training document indicating their interest, and once 50% involvement is obtained, we can initiate the Neighborhood Watch Program.
- Each Neighborhood Watch Program requires at least one Coordinator. The Coordinator helps organize meetings and sends out any correspondence communicated by the Police Department or surrounding agencies.
- Once a neighborhood has achieved the proper number of participants, the Flower Mound Police Department will post Neighborhood Watch Signs at two entrances or exits to the neighborhood, as well as attend any kickoff meeting the neighborhood requests.
- For those interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch Program, or revitalizing an old program, please feel free to contact the Community Services Unit at FMPD.CommunityServices@flower-mound.com.
Traditionally, Neighborhood Watch was always about having meetings to discuss crime in the neighborhood, but as Neighborhood Watch has changed, so have meetings. Meetings provide an opportunity for the members of your community to express concerns, ask questions, discuss ideas, and make group decisions. The key to planning a successful Watch meeting is organization. Neighborhood Watch Coordinators should be cognizant participants are volunteering their time for the benefit of their community. They should work to ensure meetings are efficient and informative. Meeting Coordinators should have the facilities prepared prior to the meeting, start and finish on time, and thank participants for attending.
Many Neighborhood Watch programs find using their annual HOA meeting as the best opportunity to get everyone together for fellowship and addressing neighborhood concerns. Neighborhood schools and faith-based organizations often provide meeting space for groups such as Neighborhood Watch.
Once you have established a strong Watch group, it is important to start building skills needed to make your group a success. While Neighborhood Watch exists for more than just crime prevention, it is important to build the skills necessary for preventing crime, as well as preparedness for natural/man-made disasters. Schedule training sessions with your law enforcement liaison or other law enforcement agencies that might have training courses.
As a member of a Neighborhood Watch group, you’ll be the eyes and ears for law enforcement and will report any suspicious activity to the police. Suspicious activity can refer to any individual, incident, event, or activity which seems unusual or out of place. Your law enforcement liaison will discuss what types of activity should be reported to law enforcement and help provide a better understanding of how your group can successfully work with the Flower Mound Police Department.
We look forward to the opportunity to work with your neighborhood and hope to grow a strong long-lasting program.