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How Do I Start a Neighborhood Watch Group?
Begin by contacting the Chesapeake Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit and requesting a Neighborhood Watch Packet. This packet will provide information on all areas of the Neighborhood Watch Program along with sample forms.
The residents of the neighborhood should appoint a coordinator. The coordinator will be responsible for establishing a date, time, meeting location and informing residents. This person is also responsible for contacting the Crime Prevention Unit to make arrangements for a Crime Prevention Officer to conduct a Neighborhood Watch presentation. The Crime Prevention Unit will need at least 7 days notice.
Once the packet has been received, review the information and discuss how you would like to have your group structured. Is your neighborhood large enough to appoint block captains? Do you, and other residents interested, want to go door-to-door or do you want to conduct the sign up at the time of your meeting? The packet contains a resident information sheet. Feel free to make copies of this sheet for residents to complete.
50% of the residents in your neighborhood will need to be willing to participate in the program. If you have a large neighborhood and need to divide your Neighborhood Watch by street boundaries to qualify please contact the Crime Prevention Unit for assistance. Of the 50% you will need the following:
- 10% must agree to participate in a Home Security Survey. This is conducted free of charge by a Certified Crime Prevention Specialist Officer. The officer will come to your home and check locks, doors windows, outside lighting etc. and make suggestions on how to make your home more secure. The resident must contact the Crime Prevention Unit to set up an appointment.
- 10% must agree to participate in Operation Identification. The participants will agree to mark their property with a unique identifier for later identification if the property is stolen. The participant will choose what property they will mark and it will be done in a honor system. It is recommended you mark your property with the state of your driver's license followed by your driver's license number (ex- VA B12345678). Never use your social security number. The Crime Prevention Unit does not inspect what property was marked.
- Attend 2 consecutive Chesapeake Crime Prevention Council (CCPC) Meetings – At least one member from your neighborhood must attend the quarterly CCPC meeting for 2 consecutive meetings.
What Happens after the Meeting?
Once the Crime Prevention Officer has explained the program and the residents have enrolled, the Coordinator will need to verify the residents have scheduled and completed the Home Security Surveys and completed Operation Identification. Once all of this information is completed the Coordinator will be added to the Chesapeake Crime Prevention Council mailing list and will begin receiving the newsletter.
When Do We Receive Our Sign?
Once all of these requirements have been met (including the 2 meetings) the Coordinator will meet with a Crime Prevention Officer to decide where the sign will be placed in the neighborhood. One sign is provided by the city at no charge. Additional signs may be purchase at the cost of the neighborhood. The Crime Prevention Officer will contact the Traffic Engineering Department for the installation of the signs.
Remember: A member of your neighborhood must attend at least one CCPC meeting per six month block to maintain their Neighborhood Watch status. Should a neighborhood fail to be represented for more than two consecutive six month blocks, the Crime Prevention Unit will mail a letter to the Coordinator alerting him/her of the possibility of losing their Neighborhood Watch sign(s). If there is no response in a reasonable amount of time the officer will have the sign(s) removed and the group will be moved to an inactive status. All Neighborhood Watch signs (even those purchased by the neighborhood) will be removed. If at any time the affected Neighborhood Watch group chooses to reactivate their program, they must reapply just as any new perspective neighborhood.
If you have any questions regarding this material please contact the Crime Prevention Unit by phone 757-382-6223 or email CPDCrimePrev@cityofchesapeake.net.