Do you know if there’s a Neighborhood Watch in your Miami neighborhood? If not, do you know how to start one? Neighborhood Watch groups are an integral part of efforts to prevent crime throughout the city. If you’re concerned about safety and are curious about how a Neighborhood Watch group might benefit your neighborhood, here are answers to some common questions about the process.
What happens in a neighborhood with a Neighborhood Watch program?
There are several components to a Neighborhood Watch group:
- Regular meetings. This is when neighbors gather together, sometimes joined by local law enforcement officers or other authorities, to discuss crime prevention issues in the neighborhood.
- A communication system. Depending on your neighborhood and your needs, this can be a phone tree, an email list, or even a paper newsletter. Make sure that everyone knows about the Neighborhood Watch and that new residents are included when they move in.
- Educational and social events. Bring in a speaker about safety. Throw a block party to help everyone get to know each other. Host a neighborhood clean-up to tackle litter.
- Scheduled patrols. Some (but not all) Neighborhood Watch programs include a schedule where community members take a stroll around the area to keep an eye on things and make sure nothing illegal or dangerous is going on.
Who can be part of a Neighborhood Watch program?
If you own a home in the area, you can participate. If you rent an apartment in the area, you can participate. If you own a business or hold a job in the area, you can participate. If you’re a kid, you can participate (with your parents’ permission). If you’re homebound, you can participate.
If you are a part of and care about the neighborhood, you are welcome to be a part of a Neighborhood Watch.
You’re disabled and find it difficult to get out of the house? You might be just the person to be in charge of keeping people’s contact information updated. You work odd hours and can’t commit to a particular schedule? That’s not a problem, you can still keep your eyes open and report anything unusual you see using an app like Torch. You hate dealing with large groups of people? Meetings aren’t mandatory, and someone needs to keep an eye on the neighborhood while everyone else is talking.
What happens if I see something suspicious as a Neighborhood Watch member?
It depends on the issue. If something seems like a real emergency, it’s best to call 911. If someone is injured or something is on fire, for example, you should never hesitate to call for an ambulance.
If it’s just something that seems a little odd, though, you don’t want to waste an emergency service’s time. There are a number of different agencies that tackle different types of hazards or crimes, and it can be challenging to keep track of which ones handle what kinds of issues.
Sometimes you don’t even know what you’re looking at. In situations like these, an app such as Torch can be incredibly helpful. The app will guide you through the anonymous reporting process and automatically send it to the correct agency. And if something dangerous is going on in your area, it will alert you to that, too.
Crime is a community issue.
And the best way to tackle a community issue is as a community. Learn more about how Torch can help your Neighborhood Watch group keep your street safe.