Neighborhood Watch: the Community Home Security System

Since the 1970s, the Neighborhood Watch program has been one way to supplement your home security system. Essentially, the program teaches you and your neighbors how to recognize and identify suspicious activity in the neighborhood. The program stresses the idea that we should all be looking out for each other, and that the best home security system is one that’s constantly supplemented by watchful neighbors.

There are several areas that the program helps to protect you and your home:

  • Deterrence. The presence of Neighborhood Watch signs, in some instances, can be a deterrent to crime. While these signs don’t keep criminals from breaking into a home, they do make it more difficult. Even if the criminal is familiar with Neighborhood Watch training, it means they have to go to tremendous lengths to avoid doing the kinds of things that arouse suspicion. In itself, it’s not a home security system, but it does add an obstacle to would-be home invaders. It decreases opportunity.
  • Collective action and concern. Without a Neighborhood Watch program, it’s just you and your home security system looking out for your home. When the program is implemented, everyone in the area takes some responsibility for protecting your home. It’s like having several extra pairs of eyes (or, even better, several extra home security cameras) pointed in your home’s direction.
  • Cooperation with law enforcement. Neighborhood Watch programs are started with the involvement of local law enforcement agencies. That means that the folks in your neighborhood know who to call if there’s suspicious activity, and how to report it. This kind of synergy with the local community means faster responses and, ultimately, fewer crimes.

A Neighborhood Watch program, all by itself, isn’t enough to secure your home and protect you from home invaders. You still need your home security system (and to make sure that it’s installed properly and turned on when you’re not home). But in some ways, the program can be a wonderful supplement, adding a level of deterrence to home invasion that you just can’t buy on the shelf at your home improvement store, and that isn’t installed by a home security company.

Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011