The Neighborhood Watch program operates on the premise that a good working relationship between the community and Independence Police Department will result in a higher quality neighborhood as well as a lower crime rate.
Typically criminals are cowards and outsiders within their communities. If they move into a community where residents have formed a tight bond, and where people are willing to call the police, criminals will undoubtedly feel the pressure and eventually move away.
One primary element of the neighborhood watch program is the commitment among community members to alert the police to any suspicious activities and crimes in progress. Neighborhood Watch participants do not ever follow or confront suspects. That is what the Police Officers are paid to do.
Essentially, the Independence Neighborhood Watch Program is based on two separate partnerships:
The first partnership represents the police department’s willingness to help the community lower crime in neighborhoods in three different ways: awareness, crime prevention education and community problem solving.
Awareness relates to the flow of information concerning recent criminal activity in a specific area. The police department uses the web service communitycrimemap.com to share information about what is happening in your neighborhood. From this site, you can receive information updated every weekday. This is especially handy if there has been a rash of burglaries or other such crimes in your area. If people two blocks over are having trouble with shed break-ins, and you have this information, would you be able to make yourself safer? Absolutely…you would know to be on high alert for possible activity in your area.
Crime prevention education relates to informing citizens of what crime is out there, and how to prevent you from becoming a victim. Think of each of us as having a target on our backs, open to criminals. If we do things such as leaving our cars unlocked with valuables inside, leaving our purse or wallet on a counter and walking away, or openly give out personal information over the phone or internet, it is not a matter of if we will become a victim, but a matter of when. Crime prevention education teaches us the fundamentals of how to make that target smaller and smaller, until finally it is so small; it is too difficult for a criminal to hit.
Community problem solving related to assisting neighbors with conflict resolution and negotiation, prior to a situation getting so out of hand, the only solution is to phone the police. By providing information such as contact information to community mediation and other resources at your disposal we can hopefully create not only a tighter bond in the community, but prevent rifts that can tear a community apart from opening.
The second partnership within the Neighborhood Watch Program is the partnership among community members. This is perhaps the most important bond within the Neighborhood Watch Program. It is the bond between each other, the feeling of community and openness that has been slowly leaving our society for the past 40 years. It is about taking the time to turn off the television, and getting out into the community that of which you are a part. Quite often, criminals can move into a neighborhood and go undetected because community members do not know each other. Neighborhood Watch serves to change that in the hopes that by getting to know your neighbors more, you will figure out who does not belong in your community.
In all, the Neighborhood Watch Program is a wonderful way to take back your neighborhood. It serves to reunite us with neighbors, and chase the unwanted criminal element out. It helps to make our communities whole again, as we begin to build the bonds of neighbors.
Remembers, the best crime prevention tool you can have is a concerned and watchful neighbor!
For more information, please read the Neighborhood Watch Program Guidebook.