What is a “Citizen-run Neighborhood Watch Security Program”?
By standard definition, a citizen neighborhood watch security program consists of an organized group of civilians that collectively agree to devote their time, energy, abilities, and resources to protecting their local community against crime, such as vandalism, theft, burglary, trespassing, assault, and other offences.
In Canada, there are a few organizations that are set up to promote a responsible, safe approach to neighborhood watch activities and guidelines. Unfortunately, over the years, many of these programs have seen a significant drop in participation, such as the “Block Parent” program which is specifically designed to assist children in aid. The mandatory police checks and effort required on the part of volunteers, combined with busy lifestyle factors, has contributed to the decline in membership.
What are the disadvantages of relying on a citizen-run neighborhood watch?
Ultimately, all neighborhood watch programs operate on the VOLUNTARY premise of NEIGHBORS LOOKING OUT FOR NEIGHBORS. There is no formal contract, no work agreement, no paid nightshifts, and no mandatory requirement for your neighbors to even call 911 if they see a burglar in your backyard. They do not need to get involved if they don’t want to.
The “This Community Protected – Neighborhood Watch” signs that you may see as you walk through various neighborhoods in Toronto are provided by your local police service upon attaining a formal consensus from 50-80% of residents in your community. If you cannot get a minimum of 50% of your neighbors to agree, then you can try organizing an informal community watch, but in this case there are not enough members for their local police to recognize them. There is a chance the watch may grow, but it will need active involvement from volunteers.
A number of events in the United States of America have painted an ugly picture of citizen-run community watch programs, the negative impact even spilling over to Canada. In February 2012, teenager Treyvon Martin was shot and killed by an associate of a local neighborhood watch program, George Zimmerman, who was tried – and later acquited – for second-degree murder and manslaughter.
A Better Option – Security Company Neighborhood Watch Mobile Patrol Services
If you have reason to be concerned for your personal safety, the safety of your family, or if your neighborhood is at risk of serious crime, you might consider hiring a private security company to provide a dedicated neighborhood watch security program.
A professional security company will hire, train, support, and manage a team of mobile patrol security guards that will protect your property. You will not need to expend your efforts attempting to convince your neighbors to form a community watch. You will have the peace of mind knowing that a team of professionals, highly trained in crime deterrence, residential home security, surveillance techniques, and incident response are patrolling your property. You can rest assured that those professionals are backed by the right technology solutions and supported 24/7 by a team of managers.
Instead of relying on untrained and unregulated volunteers, you can rely on accountable and regulated security professionals.
Neighborhood Home Patrols by Marked Security Vehicles
Highly visible marked security vehicles increase your neighborhood security presence. Criminals that observe marked security vehicles patrolling a neighborhood on a regular basis will soon get the point that it’s better to target a different neighborhood. This is known as deterrence, or proactively preventing crime by causing a potential to feel fear of getting caught, and doubt of successfully achieving their aim and escaping.
Regular scheduled visits augmented by randomized visits will leave potential criminals guessing as to when and where a mobile patrol professional might suddenly arrive. Many criminals “stake out” a community for weeks, even months, determining the weakpoints and valuable assets of the homes in a community. Most break-ins occur during the night, due to the low visibility and loss of “natural surveillance” that comes when neighbors are awake and walking through the neighborhood. Having marked security vehicle patrols at night time, and adding highly visible foot patrols with strong flashlights, adds a significant layer of community security.
Neighborhood Watch Security Guard Patrols
- Patrols can be on foot, or within a marked security vehicle, or both.
- Mobile Patrol Guards can patrol your property in the unique manner it needs.
- Mobile Patrol Team will collect information about neighborhood in case of any problems, and use it to improve surveillance and threat recognition
- Communications with local police will be expedient, detailed, accurate, and objective oriented, getting the right response to the situation
- Various technology is used to augment the skills and abilities of each team member, improving efficiency and effectiveness
- Standard home checks include:
- lighting functionality both sensor and continuous
- access control – ensuring all exterior doors, gates, and windows are secured
- signs of forced entry
- vandalism and graffiti
- alarm system responsiveness and functionality
- highly overt patrol tactics to increase deterrence and security presence