National Association of Town Watch (NATW) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and promotion of various crime prevention programs including neighborhood watch groups, law enforcement agencies, state and regional crime prevention associations, businesses, civic groups, and individuals, devoted to safer communities. The nation’s premiere crime prevention network works with law enforcement officials and civilian leaders to keep crime watch volunteers informed, interested, involved and motivated. Since 1981, NATW continues to serve thousands of members across the nation.
The introduction of National Night Out, “America’s Night out against Crime”, in 1984 began an effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. NATW’s National Night Out program culminates annually, on the first Tuesday of August (In Texas, the first Tuesday of October).
Additional information is available at http://www.natw.org
Planning Your Activity
Groups are encouraged to work jointly with police and residents to plan for the NNO event. These events can be large or small. Some crime watch groups host parties for the entire group in a central location; others have assorted block parties throughout the evening. The very simplest show of support is to encourage residents to lock all of their doors, turn on all of their outside lights and come out to the street to meet their neighbors. The goal is to bring the neighborhood together with the police to stress unity in crime fighting efforts.
NNO is a successful program in the City of Dallas, and many crime watch groups participate. It is very important to plan in advance. The police make every effort to attend all NNO events but they must plan appropriately to insure their presence at your event. Try to schedule the date with your NPO at least 2 months before the event date.
Keys to Success
Start planning early
Involve as many residents, businesses, and city officials as possible
Invite your NNO, DPD Divisional Chief, Fire Department, Code Enforcement, and community prosecutor to your NNO
Plan children’s events and activities
Advertise your event with flyers, media coverage, Nextdoor, neighborhood newsletters
Encourage area businesses to participate and act as sponsors
Outdoor activities are encouraged. Here are some suggestions:
Flashlight walks or parades through the neighborhood
Ice cream social, BBQ, block parties, progressive parties
Crime prevention seminars and/or speakers
Home security or security lighting demonstration
Police officer presentation on a variety of topics geared toward children.