Notes Neighborhood Watch

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1 Notes Neighborhood Watch Law Enforcement Game Plan A step-by-step guide for Law Enforcement agency employees assigned to develop, enhance or expand local Neighborhood Watch initiatives

2 Trainings Steps six and seven in the Law Enforcement Game Plan are suggestions on other types of trainings and activities that can be utilized with your Neighborhood Watch group. Each meeting, training exercise and activity should be specifically tailored to the needs of each group. Some common foundational training sessions that many Neighborhood Watch groups will want to receive include:, and Target Hardening for the Home. For more information on these topics, refer to the self-paced learning courses. For your convenience, a pre-designed community PowerPoint presentation and accompanying Instructor s manual have been included in the Neighborhood Watch Toolkit. Conducting Activities In an effort to enhance and expand current Neighborhood Watch activities and to provide formal training for officers, Block Captains and community volunteers, the Neighborhood Watch Toolkit has been developed under the auspices of the National Sheriffs Association and funded through a grant provided by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U. S. Department of Justice. Activities conducted by Neighborhood Watch groups across the country are as diverse and varied as their volunteers and the neighborhoods they represent. Some groups mobilize to patrol neighborhoods, other distribute crime prevention information, while business assessments or home security surveys are conducted by others. Where disorder problems are the primary focus of Neighborhood Watch members, volunteers mobilize and conduct neighborhood clean-ups, or work with faith-based organizations to assist with the homeless and mentally ill who wander the streets. As law enforcement officers learn the needs of their various Neighborhood Watch groups and the dynamics of their volunteers, they can tailor activities and responses to meet the ever-changing needs of their citizens. Page 2 Page 15

3 Meetings Table of Contents Planning and Conducting Effective Meetings Neighborhood Assessment Neighborhood Needs Neighborhood Observations As the law enforcement liaison for Neighborhood Watch, so far you have learned about the overall Neighborhood Watch effort, built your skills with the self-paced learning, reviewed the community curriculums, and begun to mobilize your Neighborhood Watch by recruiting volunteers and selecting leaders. Now it is time to start planning and conducting a wide variety of meetings. It is in these meetings that volunteers will learn ways to protect themselves and their community, build partnerships and plan their local Neighborhood Watch activities. To become familiar with planning and conducting meetings, refer to the Planning Effective Meetings Law Enforcement self-paced curriculum. One of the first meetings that a new or revitalized Neighborhood Watch group will want to hold is one on strategic planning. During this meeting (or in some cases, series of meetings), the members will identify and prioritize the concerns and issues in their neighborhood. They will conduct a neighborhood assessment to determine their strengths and weaknesses, and examine neighborhood needs through a variety of means such as observations, police reports, census and economic data and media reports. Armed with all of this information, they will be able to focus on specific concerns as they develop a roadmap to success and expand their partnership opportunities. To learn more about facilitating a strategic planning session for your Neighborhood Watch group, refer to the curriculum. Foreword 4 The Process 6 Information Gathering 8 Skill Building 10 Review Presentations and Tools 12 Organizing and Forming Groups 13 Meetings 14 Trainings 15 Conducting Activities 15 Page 14 Page 3

4 Foreword Traditionally in law enforcement agencies that utilize the Neighborhood Watch program, designated sworn officers or their non-sworn public service counterparts are assigned as liaisons or coordinators for Neighborhood Watch. Often these individuals are selected because of their previous crime prevention experience or training. Some Neighborhood Watch coordinators are chosen because of their desire to reach out and work with the community, while others are selected because of their communication skills or abilities to plan, organize and mobilize others. For more than thirty years, law enforcers and their civilian partners have been working together to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in neighborhoods. With today s continued emphasis on crime reduction and the added task of fighting the war on terrorism, Neighborhood Watch is more important than ever. Our country s citizens are being empowered and mobilized as they participate in proactive partnerships with their local law enforcement agencies. Page 4 Organizing and Forming Groups Awareness Recruitment Selection Leadership The fourth step in the game plan is the formation of the Neighborhood Watch group. Up to this point, the officer or law enforcement liaison has been primarily on his own to learn, study and practice. In this step and all of the ensuing steps in the process, the law enforcer must utilize his or her people skills to empower and motivate volunteers to create successful Neighborhood Watch initiatives. In some neighborhoods, the need for a proactive Neighborhood Watch program will be evident because of the well documented crimes or the acknowledged disorder that occurs in the community. In these neighborhoods, residents are usually ready and willing to mobilize and participate in the Neighborhood Watch program. They often need little external motivation. The focus in these areas is usually more on leadership and organization. However, in other neighborhoods the incidents or offenses may be less well known and the level of awareness among the residents may need to be increased. Under these circumstances the responsibility for raising the level of awareness falls upon the law enforcer. The responsibility for the recruitment of volunteers usually falls to the Block Captains or Area Coordinators, but in some instances the law enforcer may have to instruct these leaders on how to recruit new members. Once a core group of Neighborhood Watch volunteers has been identified, specific members may volunteer to take on leadership positions. In some instances, certain individuals may be reluctant to take on specialized roles within the group. When this occurs, the law enforcer may wish to interview and select certain key individuals to lead specific efforts. The final step in forming and organizing a Neighborhood Watch is the designation of leadership. These individuals will be responsible for the planning and coordinating activities. Neighborhood Watch leaders may be formal leaders elected by their peers or informal leaders who are simply volunteers to whom others look for advice or guidance. Page 13

5 Review Presentations and Tools Creating Awareness Teamwork Forming Partnerships The third step in the law enforcer s game plan for a successful Neighborhood Watch is to review the community curriculums and their accompanying tools. These curriculums are more general versions of the self-paced courses that the officers have already completed. Each course consists of a pre-designed PowerPoint presentation, an Instructor s manual, and one or more tools designed specifically for Neighborhood Watch. The Creating Awareness course focuses on building or revitalizing a Neighborhood Watch program. This course features recruitment and planning worksheets and a phone tree tool. In Teamwork, and Forming Partnerships, a number of tools have been developed to assist both law enforcers and volunteers. Planning worksheets, laminated posters, organizational templates and informational handouts that assist with building and maintaining a Neighborhood Watch group are provided within the Toolkit. Some of the most useful and important tools have been designed for the,, and Target Hardening community courses. Included in the Toolkit are a placard on observation skills, a pinwheel on reporting, a lighting audit for home security, a community contact numbers reference form, and flip charts, all of which supplement the presentations and enhance the abilities and skills of Neighborhood Watch volunteers. Once officers have increased their own personal skills level and familiarized themselves with the community presentations and tools, it is time to begin to organize or revitalize the Neighborhood Watch groups. This toolkit is comprised of self-paced learning curriculums for law enforcement officials, Area Coordinators and Block Captains, as well as community based training that is supplemented by numerous actionoriented tools to be utilized by Neighborhood Watch members. Curriculums highlighting important Neighborhood Watch topics such as recruitment and selection of volunteers, observation, and reporting of suspicious activities are all designed to enhance local law enforcement efforts. This Law Enforcement Game Plan for Neighborhood Watch officers has been designed to provide step-by-step instructions for law enforcement officials and public safety officers assigned to coordinate and support local Neighborhood Watch activities. Developed by law enforcers and their community partners, this game plan is designed for both newly-assigned Neighborhood Watch officers, as well as those who have been successful throughout the years. This game plan will guide you from the initial introduction to Neighborhood Watch all the way through working with established groups as they expand the scope of their local activities and partner with other citizen based organizations such as Citizen Corps. Page 12 Page 5

6 The Process Information Gathering Neighborhood Watch Community Overview Community Needs Skill Building Volunteer Management Forming Partnerships Effective Meetings Target Hardening For The Home this course, law enforcers will learn the process of strategic planning, how to conduct neighborhood assessments and prioritize initiatives, and how to build realistic plans which can be put into action. Partnerships and expanding capabilities in communities across the country are the new elements of national Neighborhood Watch and the USAonwatch initiative. In Forming Successful Partnerships, officers will learn skills they can utilize to reach out to other civic, social and service organizations in an effort to expand their partnership activities. Officers will also learn about memorandums of understanding (MOUs) and when such documents may be appropriate or necessary. In the final section of this training, potential partners are presented. Often law enforcement liaisons receive no formal instruction on meeting organization and management. Planning and Conducting Effective Meetings is the next self-paced learning curriculum. This course provides instruction on logistics, developing agendas, facilitating a meeting, managing disagreements, and post-meeting follow-up activities. While the first four self-paced courses were designed to assist local law enforcers with needed skills required to start or revitalize a Neighborhood Watch group, the final three skill building courses are presented to aid officers on basic Neighborhood Watch topics. These courses include: Observation Skills,, and, and are the first in a series of topic-specific courses that will be made available through the National Sheriffs Association and the USAonwatch initiative. teaches the various aspects of observation such as what to observe, how to observe it, and observation specifics concerning both persons and situations. For years Neighborhood Watch volunteers have been referred to as the eyes and ears of the police, so knowing and using proper observation skills is essential for all Watch groups. After properly honing one s observation skills, being able to properly report information to law enforcement officials is essential. Reporting Suspicious Activities presents information on how to properly report, as well as what to report and when reporting becomes necessary. In this course officers will receive in-depth instruction on a variety of reporting activities. After reviewing this course, officers will be able to advise citizens specifically on the appropriate who, what, why and how of reporting. The final skills building course for officers is Target Hardening for the Home. Officers will learn specific methods on how to evaluate homes for security, and general information on how to work with the public to make our neighborhoods more safe and secure. From evaluating locks to assessing alarms, officers will receive a wealth of information on home security that they will be able to present to Neighborhood Watch leaders and volunteers. Page 6 Page 11

7 Skill Building Volunteer Management and Leadership Recruitment Interviews and Placement Motivation Leadership and Team Building Evaluation and Retention Neighborhood Assessment Document Development Forming Partnerships Dynamics MOUs Potential Partners Planning and Conducting Effective Meetings Before the Meeting Facilitation Tips Meeting Follow-ups Basics Persons Vehicles Actions Persons / Events Process Physical Environment Cultural/Lifestyle The second step in the law enforcer s Neighborhood Watch Game Plan is for the law enforcement officer or Neighborhood Watch liaison to develop his or her own personal set of skills that will be required to organize or revitalize a successful Neighborhood Watch program. In the past, many organizations have improvised training for personnel assigned to work with Neighborhood Watch groups. Often this lack of formal training resulted in a huge learning curve that the officer had to overcome on his own while trying to move his groups forward. To overcome this problem, a complete series of law enforcement self-paced learning curriculums has been developed. These skill building curriculums are provided on a series of CDs contained within this Toolkit. These training tools are designed to assist the liaison by providing specific instructions on important Neighborhood Watch topics. Law enforcers should first learn the basics of Volunteer Management and leadership. This includes recruitment, interviews and placement, motivation, leadership and team building, and evaluation and retention. The second skill-building curriculum is, which focuses on the key elements of developing a plan for both the officer and each one of his or her Neighborhood Watch groups. It is important that law enforcers be familiar with strategic planning and that they develop and utilize their own plans when managing Neighborhood Watch programs. In Review Presentations and Tools Neighborhood Watch Basics Creating Awareness Teamwork Forming Partnerships Organizing and Forming Groups Awareness Recruitment/Selection Leadership Meetings Planning and Conducting a Meeting Trainings Conducting Activities Crime Disorder Business/Home Assessments Page 10 Page 7

8 Information Gathering Neighborhood Watch History Roles and Responsibilities Benefits Programs and Support Community Overview Geography Demographics Culture Community Needs Crime Disorder Quality of Life Issues For a law enforcement or public safety officer who has been assigned as a liaison to assist, enhance and support Neighborhood Watch efforts in the community, the first step is to gather information. This information gathering process will provide education on the Neighborhood Watch program and the community that will be served. This foundational information will also be utilized throughout the process as the officer moves through this game plan building, changing or improving their Neighborhood Watch initiatives. To begin this first step, the law enforcer should learn about the history of Neighborhood Watch. This information can be found in the Neighborhood Watch Basics self-paced learning curriculum. In this curriculum, the law enforcer will learn about the various roles and responsibilities of Neighborhood Watch volunteers, as well as some of the benefits that both the public and the police derive from Neighborhood Watch. Finally, this primer will provide information on various programs and services that support Neighborhood Watch on a national basis, and the new direction that the program is taking in a post-9/11 world. Once the law enforcer becomes familiar with the historical and foundational concepts surrounding the Neighborhood Watch program, he should begin to collect general information on the community or communities where he will be responsible for overseeing its implementation. The Neighborhood Watch liaison will want to examine the geography of the area and any natural neighborhood boundaries, the demographics of the population (especially any emerging trends), and the culture of the communities that the Neighborhood Watch groups will be serving. Culture should be seen not only as the ethnic cultures of the community, but the overall climate, and the officer should note specific characteristics that reflect a culture of crime or community apathy regarding involvement or action. The final aspect of information gathering is to collect data on the crime, disorder and quality-of-life issues in the general community. Officers should note trends in crimes (both violent and property), as well as calls for service regarding disorder such as loud noise or groups of people hanging out in the streets. Quality-of-life issues regarding sanitation, code enforcement and public works should also be reviewed during this first step to Neighborhood Watch success. Statistical information can be obtained from the county Sheriff s Office or local police departments, while anecdotal information can be gathered from officers and citizens who live or work in the community. In this first step, it is important to note that all of the information being gathered is general in nature. This foundational information should provide the law enforcer with an understanding of what Neighborhood Watch is and where the programs are going to be offered, enhanced or expanded. Page 8 Page 9

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