The following steps explain how to get a Neighborhood Watch program started and maintained in your area:
1. Talk to your neighbors. See if there’s interest in forming a Neighborhood Watch group in your area. If there is contact the SDPD for help.
2. Talk to the SDPD. Contact the SDPD area station in your neighborhood and ask to talk to the Community Relations Officer (CRO) who is responsible for Neighborhood Watch. SDPD division addresses and phone numbers are listed at the end of this paper. The CRO will suggest how you should proceed and discuss the crime and disorder problems that you will have to deal with.
3. Talk to your neighbors again. Tell them about the benefits of a program and the problems to be addressed. Once you have up to 50% of your neighbors who have filled out the registration form, ask about convenient times and places for the first meeting. Be sure to mention that Neighborhood Watch does not require frequent meetings or personal risks, and that a CRO will be invited to the first meeting to answer questions.
4. Planning the first meeting. If your neighborhood has a Neighborhood Watch Coordinator, contact the Coordinator for a time that the CRO and the Coordinator are available. If your neighborhood does not have a Coordinator, contact the CRO directly for a time that is available. Meetings are usually held at a home, school, church, or community center. Send out meeting announcements a few weeks ahead of the date. You can distribute fliers, make phone calls, or send e-mails. Send out reminders a few days before the meeting.
5. Prepare an agenda and sign-in sheet for the first meeting. Ask the CRO to talk about the crime and disorder problems in your area, how to get crime and crime prevention information on the SDPD website at www.sandiego.gov/police, and how the partnership with the SDPD will work. The meeting should last about one hour. Consider providing refreshments, e.g., cookies and coffee. The agenda should allow time for questions, answers, and other topics.
START AND MAINTAIN A NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAM
The first meeting is critical in forming of a group. All attendees should introduce themselves and sign a sheet with their names, addresses, home and cell phone numbers, and e-mail addresses so they can be contacted about future meetings and activities. They should be assured that their personal information will not be given to anyone without their permission. The CRO will talk about the topics listed above and answer questions.