Neighborhood watch programs in communities are crime prevention strategies, which involve a number of activities. One of the most crucial activities is that they help these groups to give information on crime issues to the police. These programs help the police to reduce and prevent crimes in the sense that neighbors become extra ears and eyes for each other. Neighbors bond together and keep an eye on anything suspicious. The police play an essential role in helping people understand what to look for in these programs (Garvin, 2010). These programs are not led by the police but the people who are leaders and controllers of these programs. Police only ensures that any suspect form of crime, which poses a risk to the property of the people, is taken catered for.
These community watch programs are being introduced in many areas in the US. These programs are working in some areas, but are expected to expand extensively in the future. The services of these programs are similar in case of assessing liability and criminal’s event. These programs will help the police in determining a crime basis easily. It will also be possible to determine credibility of any claim and the extent to which the owner or manager managed and implemented sufficient prevention strategies.
In case of crime occurrence, a liability claim is prepared. The main aim will be to keep the property owner in a situation that avoids criminal events. Any determination of crime is done by an analysis of law, crime implementation statistics and approximation to focused premises. All this in most cases involves crime type, proximity, frequency and regency assessment (McConville & Shepherd, 1992). It, furthermore, calls for service from these programs analysis also piles up to the general criminogenic assessment, as well as the location of the proximate environment. Assessment of sufficiency in prevention of crime strategies and procedures is conducted through the use of a structured survey of current policies and procedures on crime issues in areas of operation of these programs. This helps to determine the degree of efficiency from these programs (Section, 1997).
After a survey is conducted, recommendations are then made on relevant changes, as well as increase crime in this prevention protocols. Such recommendations can be done based on or with the aim of focusing on areas where these programs operate, scientific evidence based on practice like these is also vital. Conducting interviews with residents, police reports, crime mapping technology initiatives, assessments on narcotics and gang activates can also provide relevant information.
Finally, there is the assessment from research and scientist validated evidence. The main goal of these programs is to help communities prepare these groups in areas where they are effective. This done by showing them how these groups will reduce crime incidents in their premises. The neighborhood watch program consists of citizens who involve themselves in discussions with neighbors over crime concerns in their areas and involving the police in these crime cases in their community. These programs also aim at encouraging communities to get enlightened over suspicious activities in their neighborhood premises. Participants in these programs meet to discuss matters on residential and personal security, as well as effectiveness in crime reporting procedures.
These programs contain a watch captain who helps in organizing, meetings and maintenance of up-to-date membership information. Then, members of this program receive reports on the crime in their areas, as well as the trend of crimes regularly. These programs are divided into parts where crime reports in each division are passed to the members by a crime analyst from that division. Volunteers play a part by compiling message to be dispersed using watch alert systems. This is a kind of automatic phone dialer system, which sends messages to every participant from all areas concerning crime trends within particular neighborhoods.
In the crime prevention strategy, there a number of activities involved. These neighborhood watch programs may borrow a leaf from the public crime prevention center which provides public leadership with more cost efficient and effective ways of the prevention and reduction of crimes. This is undertaken by addressing risks, which are known, factors in populations and situation where risk is high. The core activities involved are providing the support in target crime prevention approaches and sharing practical knowledge. Crime prevention strategies should also outsource funds in order to be able to fund their activities.
Some other activities involved in Crime Prevention Strategies include: identifying factors, which pose a risk, development of programs, which show evidence on interventions through the use of logic models for interpretation and creation of partnerships, which help in identification of gaps, which may exist in services of the community is another essential activity of CPS. This will involve exhaustion of resources, know-how as well as time efficiency within these communities. The Final activity is that it helps assessment in the impacts and results of these community neighborhood programs.
There are a number of theories, which focus on the crime prevention. The most significant one is the situational crime prevention theory. This theory rests on the assumption that people in this case; offenders choose to commit a crime freely and actively. That is, the immediate circumstances and situations' response triggers the situation of committing a crime. It is also quite clear from the theory that motivation for the creation of a crime is not beyond the control neither is it uncontrollable. It depends on calculation of cost rewards other than results of inheriting or acquisition of character to offend.
The theory focuses most on issues that reduce chances of criminals committing the crime; changing criminals’ ideas on whether they can get away with a certain crime makes it hard, as well as less rewarding to commit a crime (Cronin, 1994).
Situational crime prevention mainly involves positive activities, which reduce crimes. Such approaches involve making all necessary changes to buildings with the aim of making them safer, calling upon the police to provide help, use of commence in the process of trying to convince criminals to quit their unlawful activities, involvement and support neighborhood watch activities to reduce crimes and involve everyone in the crime prevention process.
There are some critics facing these programs and some of them, and once these programs are started, there are issues. Then, it is later noted that people in these communities lose interest in these programs, once these issues get resolved. Therefore, neighborhood watch should try to remain proactive. The members of these programs should try to ensure that they call the police once they find something to report. These neighborhood watch programs face a lack of enough funds, or they undergo budget cuts. They strive so much to operate in squeezed resources, which remain a challenge in using these resources up to their abilities.
Another criticism, despite expressions about communities, is that there are difficulties in implementing schemes in areas where crime remains lofty and also areas are prone to high levels of poverty. There is a seeming danger while trying to reinforce divisions like these between areas, which record the effective reduction in crimes and towering crime rates in poor areas. For example, these community neighborhoods watch programs need to attract funding from the private sector, as well as participation. As a result, they aim to get deflected towards property asset value's acquisition in areas of business (Commission, 1981). Consequently, these aims confine criminogenic communities to their dejected neighborhoods instead of liberating them from crime problems which they face.
There are assumptions done that causes and solutions to local community’s problems lie within communities themselves. This cycle decay critique of the approach outline joblessness and economic decay among the youth in these communities may be above the capability of the local authority and the police, as well as in handling them. The issue of bringing out the issue of investment would remain a question of cracking down on incivilities. This partnership initiative may also come up with ways of creating jobs in these areas.
The government argument on these programs is that they may focus more on creating cohesiveness in the community in creating high attractive business, other than high-crime areas. Overwhelming factors, such as competition and social tension for resources and jobs, may create strength for many traditional forms of employment.
Stakeholders in these programs are communities themselves, the police and the government. A positive or negative impact of these programs affects these groups. These programs might at the last end up be vigilante groups which instead of helping the communities might end up creating issues in the safety of communities. Their effectiveness will benefit the community, as they will no longer worry for their safety, and they will always feel secure even in the absence of the police (Kemp, 2006).
These programs are budgeted by the government, and in case they fail to perform, they end up being a waste of resources by the government. In case they divert their agendas and turn out to be vigilante groups, fighting them out will also be an extra cost to the government. The positive impact this form of crime prevention strategies has to the government is that, it can be able to offer and ensure people in the grass root security of their properties (US, 1994).
The neighborhood watch programs as a part of the crime prevention strategy involves a number of activities. These programs work closely to the police to ensure that they provide the police with reports on crime matters in their areas of operation. These programs are vital to watch groups and their credibility and a source of crucial training and information. These neighborhood programs also try to link up with victims through the service office in getting members of these groups the secure training on how to help out victims of the crime. They also hold customary meetings in helping residents in knowing each other in deciding head program's activities and strategies. They might also adopt the door-to-door recruitment of members.
The other activity undertaken in the program is that of linking with other organizations, such as associations, community development offices and organizations to provide funding to the program or even infrastructure. People, who leave their homes to become window watchers can be given a chance to look upon children and at the end, report any activity that stands unusual within the neighborhood.
Gathering of significant information about one’s neighborhood is another significant activity. This is done by checking reports from the police, conduct got from victimization surveys and learning from residents. In most cases, it is noted that opinions do not receive a lot of support from facts, making it easy for accurate information in a chance to reduce crimes. At the same time, physical situations such as old abandoned vehicles are vacant lots, which play a part in crimes. Therefore, residents should be encouraged to clear their vehicles in order to look beautiful. This can be achieved through the involvement of small businesses.
Finally, emphasizes should be put down on the paper that watches groups should not be taken as vigilante groups, as well as they should not take up the role of the police. There of asking neighbors to be on high alert caring and observant should be clear. They should also report about activities, which are suspicious and crimes to the police immediately.
These neighborhood watch programs will be able to recover and stand in their activities in the future in the following ways. They should focus on petty crimes, which involve burglary, but in the future, they may try to expand their operations to even investigating in far much wide range of crime (Garofalo & McLeod, 1988).
In these communities, there are cases of drug abuse among the jobless youths, and those who sell these drugs are within these communities. These watch groups may focus on reporting about even such crime cases to the police. Domestic violence is also a common problem in many families. The watch group may take the initiative of trying and control this form of crime. This can be done by these watch groups themselves organizing seminars to educate people within their areas of operations on the need and importance of a harmonious life within their families. When families are always fighting, it is extremely hard to preserve some time to mind about the neighbor, because they are so much occupied with the conflict, this will lead to inefficiency of these neighborhood watch programs.
There is also another issue of anti-social behavior of people within a locality. This is a long-term strategy of these programs to come up with plans on how they will enable socialism within people in areas of operations. When people are fully socialized, this creates a strong bond in each other, increasing the rate in which everyone cares for the safety of each other.
Another area which would be of the key interest to these watch groups is the area of political illegal behavior committed by politicians. Such criminal crime is like taking the advantage of the jobless youth by bribing them to cause violence in their favor. This poses a big danger among people in the community. The future scope of these programs mainly focuses on the watch groups or patrollers. Patrollers should be aware that they do not possess any police powers, such as making an arrest, confront or in any way trying to apprehend a crime suspect, but should just exercise merely the powers given to them and not more. In case they go beyond, they might raise critics who may lead in the mobilization of these programs by the government. Carrying of fire arms should be entirely shunned among watch group patrollers. They should try to obey the law and should not in any way try to question a suspect (Kratcoski & Dukes, 1995).
In future, this program’s scope should involve measures that ensure vigilant observation among its watch patrollers, provide clear and decent witness to ensure that friendship between their patrollers and the police is maintained. On the other hand, these programs should ensure that their watch patrollers are fully equipped for their work with items such as; flashlights, proper reporting materials, cell phones, etc. Identification cards from the police departments are also pompous for an easy identification.