About Neighborhood Watch
NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH is a crime prevention program designed to improve livability by reducing opportunities for crime and increasing neighborhood cohesion. Alert neighbors organize with local law enforcement, in a cooperative effort aimed at reducing residential crime. NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH helps neighbors build a sense of connectedness with one another.
Participants learn about effective crime deterrent measures, to remain aware of their surroundings and to identify potential problems. They work together to help create the pleasant and safe environment that we all want for our families.
NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH members are encouraged to stay in touch through Nextdoor.com, phone calls, e-mails and meetings. They also maintain communication with the Marion County Sheriff's Office. All you need to get started is pen, paper and willing neighbors.
Step 1: Talk to your neighbors about NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH and explain its benefits. A sign-up form follows these documents. Use it to jot down each member's name, address, phone number and e-mail address. Nextdoor.com is an easy and excellent way to share current information.
Step 2: Contact Marion County Sheriff's Community Resource Unit: 503.588.7981 for help getting started and deciding on the date/time of your start-up meeting. Determine a location. The Sheriff's Office will provide you with customized invitations to distribute to your neighbors.
Step 3: A Crime Prevention deputy will attend your first meeting, explain the program and discuss crime prevention tips. Neighbors are encouraged to take this opportunity to mention any crime-related concerns in the area. NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH window decals will be distributed for display on each participant's home and the procedure for obtaining NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH road signs explained. Urban signs cost $30 & rural $40. Marion County Public Works will install the signs at no charge to the NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH group.
Step 4: At the meeting, your group will select a member to act as a liaison with the Sheriff's Office.
Nextdoor.com will also be explained, as an effective way of sharing up-to-the-minute information.
Step 5: With the information from the completed sign-up sheet, create a phone tree list and simple map of where your members reside. Distribute a copy to each of the participants. Don't forget to encourage your members to join Nextdoor.com.
Step 6: Maintaining interest in your NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH is important. Touching base regularly among members will help to remind everyone to keep vigilant. Communication is the key to sustaining members' interest and active participation in your crime prevention efforts.
Knowledge builds awareness. Keep the lines of communication open. Use
Any meetings you hold serve as opportunities to keep your neighborhood connected. A united neighborhood experiences fewer crime problems.
Update all neighborhood information at least once per year and remember to contact the Community Resource Unit with any updates to your group information. Your National Night Out gathering is an excellent opportunity to do this.
Be sure to give the e-mail address of your group coordinator to the Community Resource Unit. Encourage members to sign up for Nextdoor.com.
Operation Identification, a nationwide program in which personal property is engraved legibly with a unique identification number. That number will allow for positive identification if the item is lost or stolen. Engravers are available on loan from Marion County Sheriff's Office.
Combat Auto Theft (C.A.T.) is a program offered by Willamette Valley law enforcement agencies, designed to reduce auto thefts. Motor vehicle owners volunteer to register for the C.A.T. program through the Salem Police Department. Registrants are issued a C.A.T. decal and place it in the rear window of their vehicle. Displaying the C.A.T. decal signals Marion and Polk County law enforcement that they have permission to stop the vehicle between 1:00AM—5:00AM to determine if the driver is the owner of the vehicle, or if someone authorized by the owner is driving the vehicle. Visit the Salem Police Department's website for additional information.
How many residences do I have to include in my NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH group?
There is no set number. It is perfectly acceptable to begin with a small group, 6-8 adjacent homes. Start with a manageable number. You can always add additional members. Let the geography of your neighborhood help define your participants.
Do we have to have monthly meetings?
No. There is no required schedule; it varies among groups. The goal is to maintain communication among members. This can easily be accomplished through Nextdoor.com, on the phone or via e-mail. Decide at your start-up meeting when you would like to meet again.
What if I don't trust my neighbors?
Unfortunately, some neighborhood residents do not know or trust one another. If you feel your block cannot participate due to lack of trust, we still encourage you to maintain other aspects of crime prevention: home security tips, installation of effective locks, engraving valuables and keeping a watchful eye on the neighborhood. You may also consider participating in a limited way with the neighbors you do trust. Consider using Nextdoor.com for communications.
National Night Out?
National Night Out is a nationwide anti-crime
celebration. Millions of people across the country participate in this
going-away party for crime and drugs. Celebrated every year on the first Tuesday in August, it is designed to heighten crime and drug-prevention awareness and to generate support for participation in anti-crime programs. NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH groups across the country use this special night to come together and send a message to criminals that their neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. Visit the Marion County Sheriff's Office website to register for a representative to attend your celebration.