Neighborhood watch do's and don'ts
Of course, community members only serve as the extra “eyes and ears” of law enforcement. They should report their observations of suspicious activities to law enforcement, but never try to take action on those observations. Trained law enforcement should be the only ones ever to take action based on observations of suspicious activities.
Neighborhood watch skillset
Watch participants build the skills necessary for preventing crime as well as terrorist activity, and prepare for natural/man-made disasters. The National Sheriffs’ Association offers skill building training through the Neighborhood Watch Toolkit. Other skills you will learn include:Observation Skills
Most people go through the day without even noticing everyday events. However beginning to recognize what is normal around you is the first step in recognizing what’s not normal. Police officers sometimes refer to their intuition as a “sixth sense” or “street smarts”. Community members should know they have the ability to recognize unusual events as well.
If you see something suspicious
- Stay calm
- Remain alert to your surroundings
- Begin with the basics
- Move to the specifics
- Broaden your perspective
- Add detail
In Neighborhood Watch, you’ll learn to pay attention to things like:
- Physical setting
- Specific location, time of day, day of week.
- People – What do they look like? (height, weight, ethnicity, gender, etc.) How many are there?
- Specific items – What is important?
- Routines – Did you notice any recurring patterns or routines? How often did they occur? Who was involved?
One of the keys to a successful Neighborhood Watch program is using observation skills to keep your neighborhood safe.