Neighborhood Watch
A neighborhood watch or neighbourhood watch (see spelling differences
American and British English spelling differences
One of the ways in which American English and British English differ is in spelling.-Historical origins:In the early 18th century, English spelling was not standardized. Differences became noticeable after the publishing of influential dictionaries...

), also called a crime watch or neighborhood crime watch, is an organized group of citizens
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

 devoted to crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

 and vandalism
Vandalism is the behaviour attributed originally to the Vandals, by the Romans, in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable...

 prevention within a neighborhood. In the United States it builds on the concept of a town watch
Town watch
The Town watch program is similar to that of the Neighborhood watch, the major difference is that the Town Watch tend to actively patrol in pseudo-uniforms, i.e. marked vests or jackets and caps, and is equipped with two way radios to directly contact the local police. The Town Watch serves as an...

from Colonial America
Colonial America
The colonial history of the United States covers the history from the start of European settlement and especially the history of the thirteen colonies of Britain until they declared independence in 1776. In the late 16th century, England, France, Spain and the Netherlands launched major...


A neighborhood watch may be organized as its own group or may simply be a function of a neighborhood association
Neighborhood association
A neighborhood association is a group of residents or property owners who advocate for or organize activities within a neighborhood. An association may have elected leaders and voluntary dues....

 or other community association
Community association
A community association is a nongovernmental association of participating members of a community, such as a neighborhood, village, condominium, cooperative, or group of homeowners or property owners in a delineated geographic area. Participation may be voluntary, require a specific residency, or...


Neighborhood watches are not vigilante
A vigilante is a private individual who legally or illegally punishes an alleged lawbreaker, or participates in a group which metes out extralegal punishment to an alleged lawbreaker....

 organizations. When suspecting criminal activities, members are encouraged to contact authorities and not to intervene.

The current American system of neighborhood watches began developing in the late 1960s as a response to the rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

 and murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

 of Kitty Genovese
Kitty Genovese
Catherine Susan "Kitty" Genovese , was a New York City woman who was stabbed to death near her home in the Kew Gardens section of Queens, New York on March 13, 1964....

 in Queens, New York. People became outraged after reports that a dozen witness
A witness is someone who has firsthand knowledge about an event, or in the criminal justice systems usually a crime, through his or her senses and can help certify important considerations about the crime or event. A witness who has seen the event first hand is known as an eyewitness...

es did nothing to save Genovese or to apprehend her killer. Some locals formed groups to watch over their neighborhoods and to look out for any suspicious activity in their areas. Shortly thereafter, the National Sheriffs' Association
National Sheriffs' Association
The National Sheriffs' Association is a U.S. trade association dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among U.S. sheriffs, their deputies and others in the fields of criminal justice and public safety. Since its founding in 1940, NSA has been the one voice of the nation's sheriffs in...

 began a concerted effort in 1972 to revitalize the "watch group" effort nationwide.

Some German states, such as Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, have instituted systems of citizen patrols (Sicherheitswacht) where unarmed teams of two volunteers patrol assigned areas to improve subjective security. These teams carry a radio to call for help if necessary and a white armband with black letters identifying them as a neighborhood watch patrol.

Citizens in Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

 can participate in a Volunteer Police programme, where approx. 1,200 citizens voluntarily assist their local police in 20 towns. These volunteers are specially trained, wear uniforms and are armed. Their main duty is crime prevention: conducting walking patrols to deter street crime, patrolling near schools and kindergartens and maintaining contact with potential victims of crime and juvenile delinquents.

There are also citizens in Hessen that participate in a Volunteer Police program, where they can assist their local police. The volunteers are trained for 50 hours, receive a blue uniform, pepper spray and a mobile phone. Their main duty is crime prevention: conducting walking patrols to deter street crime, patrolling near schools and kindergartens and maintaining contact with potential victims of crime and juvenile delinquents. People can also join the Wachpolizei which has less competencies (and less pay) than regular police to perform basic police tasks such as traffic or guard duties, releasing regular officers for patrol work.

Neighborhood Watch organizations

  • Neighbourhood Watch Australasia (Australia and New Zealand)
  • Block Parent Program
    Block Parent Program
    The Block Parent Program is a large, volunteer-based, child safety & crime prevention program operating across Canada. Participants in the program place signs on their homes indicating that the house is a police-screened, safe home for community members in distress, particularly children...

    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

  • Crimestoppers
    Crime Stoppers or Crimestoppers is a program separate from the emergency telephone number system, that allows a member of the community to provide anonymous information about criminal activity. It thereby allows the person to provide crime solving assistance to the authorities without being...

  • Natteravnene
    Natteravnene , established in 1990, is a Norwegian organisation of volunteers that encourages adult, sober citizens to walk around in the city in groups at night during the weekends. Their task is to be visible and available for the public as it is believed that this will prevent violence and...

    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

  • Neighbourhood Watch (United Kingdom)
  • proNACHBAR (Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

  • Shomrim
    Shomrim (volunteers)
    Shomrim are licensed organizations of volunteer Jewish civilian patrols which have been set up in Hasidic and Haredi neighborhoods in the United States and England to combat burglary, vandalism, mugging, assault, domestic violence, nuisance crimes, and antisemitic attacks. They also help locate...

     (United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    , Great Britain
    Great Britain
    Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

  • Voluntary People's Druzhina
    Voluntary People's Druzhina
    Voluntary People's Druzhina variously translated as Voluntary People’s Guard, People’s Volunteer Squads, People's Volunteer Militia, etc. were voluntary detachments for maintaining public order in the Soviet Union similar to the Neighborhood Watch...

     (Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

  • WAS
    WAS is a three-letter acronym and may refer to:In reference to Washington, D.C.:* Washington Nationals, Major League Baseball team* Washington Capitals, National Hockey League team* Washington Redskins, National Football League team...

    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...


See also

  • Citizen Observer
    Citizen Observer
    A citizen observer is a resident appointed by the Chief of Police, or by the Deputy Sheriff, who has met the specific application, background and training requirements for patrolling his or her neighborhood or city subdivision to observe and report suspicious persons and criminal activity...

  • Guardian Angels
    Guardian Angels
    The Guardian Angels is a non-profit international volunteer organization of unarmed citizen crime patrollers. The Guardian Angels organization was founded February 13, 1979 in New York City by Curtis Sliwa and has chapters in 15 countries and 144 cities around the world.Sliwa originally created the...

  • National Neighborhood Watch Program
    National Neighborhood Watch Program
    The United States National Neighborhood Watch Program The United States National Neighborhood Watch Program The United States National Neighborhood Watch Program (also known as the USAonWatch is a neighborhood watch program run under Citizen Corps that focuses on residential areas through citizen...

  • National Night Out
    National Night Out
    National Night Out is a community-police awareness-raising event in the US, held the first Tuesday of August....

  • Neighborhood government in the US
  • No-go area
    No-go area
    A no-go area or no-go zone is a region where the ruling authorities have lost control and are unable to enforce the rule of law.-Rhodesia:The term 'no-go area' has a military origin and was first used in the context of the Bush War in Rhodesia...

  • PubWatch
    A Pubwatch scheme in the United Kingdom is a partnership where licensees unify as an independent group to preempt crime and anti-social behaviour in licensed premises. The Pubwatch organization works closely with local authorities and intends to maintain a safe and secure social environment for...

    (in the UK)
  • Neighbourhood Watch Australasia (Australia and New Zealand)

External links

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