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Neighborhood Watch Resources
Source: Office of New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
Neighborhood watch, Block watch, town watch--whatever the title, this initiative is one of the most effective ways to prevent crime, attend to home and personal security, address the safety of our children and the elderly and reduce fear and isolation. Civic involvement, collaborative problem-solving and mutual commitment have helped cities and neighborhoods reduce crime by significant numbers.

In early 1972, the National Sheriffs' Association created a model program for today’s neighborhood watch. At that time, the Chiefs were searching for ways to attack the increasing burglary rate across the country. It was recognized that communities able to secure the assistance of their residents in observing, recognizing and reporting suspicious or criminal activities were better able to keep the burglary rate down and reduce other crimes. Today, neighborhood watch is the largest single organized crime prevention project in the nation.

We know that neighborhood watch forges strong bonds among residents. Watch groups create a sense of community and pride by forming a unified group of citizens dedicated to improving their neighborhood. Partnering with law enforcement, citizens become their eyes and ears. These groups also serve as an empowering outlet for victims of crime. It helps give victims a greater sense of control--ensuring that what happened to them will be less likely to happen to others. A neighborhood watch program can also be a springboard for many other efforts to address the causes of crime, reduce crime and improve neighborhood conditions including youth recreation, child care, economic development, senior citizen activities, affordable housing and community beautification.

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