A Neighborhood Watch group doesn’t require your local law enforcement agency’s involvement to get started. In fact, most police departments and sheriff’s offices have neither the time nor resources to offer any organizational help. But once your group is established, it’s very important that you keep your local law enforcement agency informed of your existence.

Critical Things to Avoid

Neighborhood Watch groups are simply the eyes and ears of your local police department and sheriff’s office. Neighborhood Watch groups are not vigilantes, taking justice into their own hands. Because Neighborhood Watch is committed to non-violence and non-confrontation, it is critical that all participants pledge to never engage with suspected criminals. We have police officers and deputy sheriffs for that. Neighborhood Watch and Trevon Martin – My Property ID Registry

911 and Non-Emergency Number

Call law enforcement. They want to hear from you. Call 911 in emergency situations or your local law enforcement, non-emergency number for situations that warrant a response by an officer or deputy. Keep your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number stored on your phone. If they don’t answer, they are busy. Call back later. When in doubt, dial 911.

Operation Identification

The most passive crime prevention strategy you can participate in is the companion to Neighborhood Watch, called Operation Identification. Even with the proliferation of security cameras, alarm systems and video doorbells, law enforcement professionals ask that Neighborhood Watch groups implement Operation Identification. Operation Identification Police – Search (bing.com)

If you are ever the victim of a property crime, a record of your unique, property-tag numbers along with the make, model and serial numbers, are what your local police department and sheriff’s office needs for their reports. Operation Identification Modernized – My Property ID Registry

Group Leader

A Neighborhood Watch group needs a leader. The group leader studies, understands and communicates Neighborhood Watch and Operation Identification information to their group. The group leader is also the point person for the local police department or sheriff’s office, keeping an email and phone list of the group’s members. The group leader is the person who makes sure all the members understand clearly the expectations of the Neighborhood Watch group and verifies that all members have implemented Operation Identification.

Further Reading

A manual prepared by the National Institutes of Justice (DoJ) and the National Sheriff’s Association on Neighborhood Watch and Operation Identification. NSA_NW_Manual.pdf (ojp.gov)

A video prepared by the Plano, Texas, Police Department on implementing Operation Identification. Safety Minute 85: Operation ID – YouTube

Signage for Neighborhood Watch and Operation Identification. Operation Identification | Neighborhood Watch Signs – National Neighborhood Watch Institute (NNWI)

Operation Identification Primacy

My Property ID Registry puts Operation Identification first and Neighborhood Watch second. Most people understand the basic concepts of Neighborhood Watch, but very few people understand and implement Operation Identification. My Property ID Registry offers very simple, turnkey solutions for Neighborhood Watch groups, often with discounts.

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