An alert and cooperative neighborhood is the best defense against crime.
Neighborhood Watch is a group of neighbors working together to reduce and prevent crime.
Neighborhood Watch is not a group of vigilantes taking the law into their own hands, nor do Neighborhood Watch groups take the place of the Sheriff's Office in enforcing the law or arresting criminals.
Why does Neighborhood Watch work?
Nationally, there is about one officer for every 2,000 citizens. Neighborhood Watch increases police effectiveness by having neighbors report suspicious or criminal activity to the Sheriff's Office. Officers don't recognize abnormal activity in a neighborhood nearly as well as neighbors do.
Members of Neighborhood Watch get to know their neighbors, learn how to make their homes and property more secure, watch out for each other and their neighborhood, and report activities that raise their suspicions.
Neighborhood Watch leaders are in close contact with Sheriff's deputies who alert them when there is a rise in crime in their area.
What can I do to keep my neighborhood safe?
- Educate yourself by reading the Home Safety Handbook and crime prevention literature.
- Be informed and aware of area and community crime activity.
- Teach your children, grandchildren, or babysitter how to handle a stranger at the door or on the telephone.
- Use crime prevention tips by lighting up your residence, locking your home and vehicles, and avoiding displaying your property in your vehicle or home.
- Work together with your neighbors — communicate.
- Note license plate numbers and descriptions of suspicious vehicles and people.
- Report crime and suspicions to the Sheriff's Office and your Neighborhood Watch leader.
How do I get a Neighborhood Watch started in my neighborhood?
If you live in Eagle, Kuna, Star, or any unincorporated area of Ada County, contact the Community Resource Unit of the Ada County Sheriff's Office for help in organizing your group. Contact Community Resources Officer Lauren Hooker at firstname.lastname@example.org (208) 830-8573 to get started.
Each group decides where, when and how often to meet. Deputies are available to help with those meetings and to give information about specific topics of interest to your group.
Neighborhood Watch Responsibilities and Expectations
Neighborhood Watch uses two principles: Know your Neighbors and Report Suspicious Activity.
The basic idea is for neighbors to watch out for each other and each other's property. By getting to know your neighbors and their vehicles, you will most likely be alert to suspicious people, vehicles, and/or sounds that could be a sign of criminal activity.
Ada County Sheriff's Office Responsibilities:
- Help you get your neighborhood organized.
- Attend your organizational meeting.
- Pass important information to area coordinators in your neighborhood.
- Help with educational neighborhood meetings.
Area Coordinator Responsibilities:
- Be the main contact between the Sheriff's Office and your Neighborhood Watch by getting information from the Sheriff's Office and giving it to the Block Captains.
- Organize Block Captains to best cover the neighborhood, and recruit replacement Block Captains when positions open up.
- Buy Neighborhood Watch signs & install them at each entrance to the neighborhood.
- Encourage Block Captains to have biannual meetings with the Neighborhood Watch residents.
Block Captain Responsibilities:
- Pass on information received from area coordinator to neighborhood homes.
- Meet with neighbors on a semi-annual basis (a Community Resource Officer can make presentations at these meetings or you might have a Block Party).
- Distribute Home Security Manuals to each of the neighbors and collect money for the Neighborhood Watch Signs.
- Maintain, update and distribute New Neighbor Packets. New Neighbor Packets should contain a cover letter, neighborhood phone and/or email list, and various pamphlets.
- Notify Area Coordinator if no longer able to perform Block Captain Duties.
- Watch out for each other's property.
- Report any suspicious activity to the Sheriff's Office.
- Know the three neighbors across the street from your home, on each side and the three neighbors behind you.
- Have an increased awareness for your neighbors' safety and report suspicious activity to the police.