A very important element to maintaining a Neighborhood Watch is to report suspicious activities and individuals that may cause harm to the neighborhood. A Neighborhood Watch is a crime prevention program that recruits energetic citizens in collaboration with the local police agency to help diminish high crime rates, solve conflicts within the community, and make the neighborhoods safer and improve the quality of life in their community. Neighborhood watch is a program that has a successful effect on the community. The success of any Neighborhood Watch Program depends on the participation and dedication of its members as well as knowledge and information” (Neighborhood, 2009). In doing so citizens are taught how to help themselves and the community by distinguishing and exposure to any suspicious or unlawful activities, protect their love ones, their property, and those of their neighbor’s property and family. A Neighborhood Watch focus on surveillance in order to develop awareness as a means of keeping its members alert of community activities.
This program also makes use of plans that each affiliate should notify each specific member hurriedly in the occurrence of illegal activity in the neighborhood to active citizen’s patrols by groups. Citizens involved in neighborhood watch programs provide assistance within the community such as abnormal measures whenever they are observed, reporting crime, and given that support to crime victims. Neighborhood watch programs use street signs to help reduce crimes, prevent thefts, and burglaries by warning the unauthorized persons that they are being watched at all times by surveillance cameras.
In a neighborhood watch program every member has the same responsibility and dedication to have a productive neighborhood watch program. The law enforcement agency provides support and direction as well as an active workforce and logistical support to the efforts of the neighborhood watch program. Citizens trying to implement such a program are tired of all the crimes being committed in their area such as murder, burglary, robbery, gangs, drugs, and graffiti. Citizens are frustrated with the way crimes take over a neighborhood and the daily activities society has to face.
Some people would come home in fear for their lives dreading the thought of being murdered or shot, sounds of gun shots from a drive-by shooter leaving those to run for shelter, kidnapped, or even robbed. Society is feed up and wants one thing out of the neighborhood watch program and that is to bring a community together in a safer and normal environment to bring back control of their neighborhoods and reduce crime rates in that area. Crimes in the community can get out of control due to drugs, gangs, graffiti, robberies, and burglaries if it shows that no one cares.
These types of neighborhoods with these types of problems can give the appearance that no one cares which can cause crime to increase. By dealing with the disorder and keeping an open communication and partnership with the police department and other agencies a reduction in crime will soon follow. A Neighborhood Watch Program will provide the community with members to learn how to prevent crimes to prevent the Broken Window Theory (1982) which consists of a problem solving theory based on the idea that one unchecked problem may lead to other problems.
Crimes can flourish in areas in which disorderly behavior goes unchecked. For example, an abandon house can lead to graffiti, illegal dumping, prostitution, and drinking in public. Most criminals believe they reduce their chances of being caught if they operate on streets that show signs of neglect by the community. At the start of a neighborhood watch each member was given a survey to answer 5 questions regarding their neighborhood and the type of crimes that occur in the community.
Neighborhood Watch SurveyOn a scale of 1-10 with 10 being great and 1 being poor complete the following survey. 1. How safe do you feel in the comfort of your home? 2. How would you rate the crime level in your neighborhood? 3. How would the community feel in assisting to prevent crime? 4. Do you think that a neighborhood watch program will help your community? 5. How reliable do you think that a neighborhood watch program will be affective for the neighborhood? | Community members from the two divisions answered the above questions and provided their opinion regarding their neighborhood.
West Los Angeles members consist of 40 Caucasian and Asian descent members with the income of over $100,000. 00 dollars. The members are concerned about their community and they feel the crime that occurs in their neighborhood is just as bad as the crime that occurs within 77th Street Division. 77th Street community members consist of 25 African American and Hispanic Descent members with low or middle class income. 77th Street community members are extremely concerned about their area, and feel ignored or threatened by the police and politicians and is begging for help.
The success of the Neighborhood Watch Program depends on the participation and dedication of the residents as well as knowledge and information being received (Neighborhood, 2009). Attempting to start a neighborhood watch program may intimidate the community due to the type of the crimes that are currently committed by people the residents face day to day. In addition, community members will be able to discuss crime statistics in the area and bring a list of local and international contacts to help with the organizing, and maintenance of the community program (Neighborhood, 2009).
Below is a chart of two city neighborhoods within the City of Los Angeles and is patrolled by Los Angeles Police Department. Neighborhood Watch Crime Statistics Reports77th Street Division 08/01/201009/01/201010/01/201011//2010Burglary:9998105101BFMV: 86979895Rape:5 887Homicide:2 0 11Robbery:90 97 9092West Los Angeles Division08/01/201009/01/201010/01/201011//2010Burglary: 59444464BFMV: 108106131117Rape:2112Homicide:0 000Robbery: 14 1057| LAPD C-PAB, 2010) According to LAPD’s crime statistics 77th Street Division has more crime in all categories except for Burglary Theft from Motor Vehicles. It is the goal of 77th Street Area to strengthen the Community-Police partnership by increasing the numbers of youth in juvenile programs and providing opportunities for volunteer workers. 77th Street Division provides information to community members such as crimes that occur after school hours, late in the afternoon, and during the day and evenings on weekends.
By providing a more functioned Community Police program for community members will teach them to understand each type of crime ad what kind of crime happens each day for example, Criminals are interested in stealing cell phones by individuals who are merely walking down the street. West LA is number 2 out of the 21 divisions within LAPD to have fewer crimes. West Los Angeles Area has fewer crimes than 77th Street’s area except for BFMV’s due to criminals from other areas that come to WLA’s area only to commit crimes such as burglary.
West LA provides their community members within the area to keep valuables out of their vehicle or locked up inside the vehicle to prevent a theft. The community relation office has the youth from the juvenile programs passed out flyers and stickers to each home and vehicle where the crime occur the most. A Neighborhood Watch program can be effective and ineffective in various neighborhoods, depending on the rapport that an individual’s possess with community members and city officials.
In order for such programs to be effective all participants including residents and city officials are expected to work together to resolve common goals and that is to raise community awareness in safety and crime prevention. Typically, Neighborhood Watch groups organize to respond to an immediate threat-a series of rapes, a sharp increase in burglaries, rising fear of street crime”(Crime Prevention, 2009). For instance, West Los Angeles community members are proactive and involved in neighborhood programs so they can protect their property and their wealth.
A major concern is maintaining a safe environment in the areas where their children are raised. These are some of the reasons neighborhood watch programs are effective in certain areas because residents know that their voices will make a difference. Residents of the community often find it necessary to attend community meetings suggesting new ideas in regard to safety, outreach programs and making complaints about concerns in the community. Residents are often are assertive in protecting their assets such as homes, cars, businesses, which plays a huge part their everyday image and lifestyle.
Crime rates in the West Los Angeles areas are lower than South Los Angeles because residents bond together and are often more proactive in reporting crime when it occurs. In South L. A. community members have different outlooks in his or her community and possess different relationships with city officials and peace officers. Many residents living in the community do not own the property in which they reside so therefore, they are not concerned about the surroundings and what is revolving around them until it is too late.
Residents have negative outlooks on support from city officials because of different situations they have experienced. Members are also reluctant in participating in such programs due to fear that he or she may be labeled as a snitch or fear of retaliation which is one of many reasons crime statistics are so high. When residents are afraid to come forward and report incidents, crime continues because the individuals committing these crimes have not been apprehended. When the negative outweighs the positive in communities, the success rates for neighborhood watch programs are ineffective.
Recommendations to improve the communication and relationship between the community and police agencies are to improve the communication between the two. It is the responsibility of a police agency to provide meetings to address drug abuse, gang awareness, elderly abuse, rape prevention, and providing information on how to protect their homes such as proper lighting that surrounds a home. It is important to acknowledge the success and recognize the community’s volunteers through yearly carnivals, community dinners, and providing an Open House to the police and fire stations.
National Night Out is conducted by each police agency by law and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. National Night Out is opening the up a police station to the community so the community can be aware of what police officer job duties are to protect the community from harm. 77th Division needs bridge the gap they have with the community and open up more through neighborhood churches, schools, and neighborhood watches. In conclusion, a Neighborhood Watch Program helps families to control the activities within their neighborhood and staying in control.
To improve the relationship it starts with educating the community of what to be aware of and how to provide information to the police department instead of ignoring the problem as if it doesn’t exist. A neighborhood can enhance their identity and pride through the above recommendations by having Open House, Carnivals, and providing a National Night Out each year. Crime prevention is more important to a Neighborhood Watch member which assist the neighborhood to safe from any harm doing.
Community members must know their neighborhood which will guarantee the safety of the community. Reference Director of neighborhood watch. (2009). Neighborhood Watch Program. Retrieved September 28, 2009, from http://articles. directorym. com/Neighborhood_Watch_Program LAPD C-PAB. 2010). LAPD Compstat. Retrieved November 20, 2010 from http://lapd. compstat. com/c-pab Neighborhood Watch. (2009). Crime Prevention. Retrieved from http://www. sacsheriff. com Wilson, James. , & Kelling, George. (1982). The Atlantic. Broken Windows, (1), 5.