Crime Watch is basically a group of neighbors looking out for each other. It is getting to know each other and becoming familiar with your neighbors’ habits, families, vehicles, and regular visitors so you will know when something is suspicious or out of the ordinary. It is a formalized way of being nosey neighbors. It is understanding that “Nosy Neighbors Make Safe Neighborhoods”.
Crime Watch groups come about by using structure, signage, communications, and education. The structure consists of a Chairperson who organizes a group of volunteers to create and disseminate information to the remainder of the neighborhood. The Chairperson should establish a relationship with the appropriate Dallas Police Department (DPD) Neighborhood Policing Officer (NPO / CEU ) to facilitate a smooth flow of information from the DPD to the neighbors.
Signage and communications are two important elements of the neighborhood Crime Watch program. The signage usually consists of crime alert signs that are temporarily posted at dominant spots in the neighborhood when a crime has occurred. Neighbors can then call a known telephone number to hear about the incident and to see if any action should be taken on their part. Other neighborhood signage includes street name and number signs mounted in the alley behind each property so Volunteers in Patrol (VIP), police, and fire personnel know their exact location when working from the rear side of the property. Additionally, each street should be marked to announce that the neighborhood is organized against crime. These signs can be purchased from the DPD.
Communications can be handled with telephone voice mail, newsletters, an email crime alert system, and a volunteer-manned direct telephone system.
Educational material is disseminated via general and crime watch meetings, newsletters, flyers and seminars. It should consist of:
- How to be a good nosey neighbor
- The DPD “Lock, Take and Hide” program
- Personal safety
- How to use the “Nine House Diagram”
- How to keep hour home and family safe
- When and how to make a 911 call
- The Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) and vehicle glass-etching programs
Neighborhoods with Crime Watch programs will generally have families that feel safer, lower crime rates, neighbors who know what to do in the event of crimes and/or suspicious activity, neighbors who are aware of anything suspicious, and neighbors who are closer and have better relationships.
We encourage members of the DPD and all other interested parties to become more familiar with the aspects of crime watch because we believe it can make a difference in crime prevention.