HOA: Starting A Neighborhood Watch

By Nicole Heubusch

It’s not hard to start a Neighborhood Watch program in your HOA community, but it does take some time and effort. In this article, we will provide a few tips on how your HOA can begin to implement a program.

Step 1: Research

Visit different National Neighborhood Watch program websites to find information to help you get started such as www.nnw.org, This website has plenty of materials for your HOA community to use. In addition to finding information online, determine the area you want to organize. The whole neighborhood? If you have a larger neighborhood, more than 150 homes, you might want to divide the area into two watch programs. Use the HOA Board’s resources to reach out to the community members to see who would like to volunteer for the Neighborhood Watch program. A good ratio of volunteers is one person for every eight to 10 households. The HOA board can determine a night to present their Neighborhood Watch plan to inform the community of the program. Another idea is to set up a watch website. This will make it easier to coordinate and communicate with volunteers and residents.

Step 2: Contact The Sheriff’s Office

We recommend contacting your local sheriff’s office to schedule guest speakers at your Neighborhood Watch presentation. The best way to get the word out to residents about the presentation is to have your neighbor volunteers distribute invitations door to door.

Step 3: Prepare A Neighborhood Map

Prepare a Neighborhood Watch map that shows the entire area involved in the watch program. Show names, phone numbers, and street numbers of each household.

Step 4: The Presentation

At the community presentation, you will identify all resident concerns and develop an action plan. Go over crime prevention techniques and how to report any suspicious activity. This is where neighbors can meet each other and establish a communication network (i.e., a telephone tree).

Step 5: Keep Everyone’s Interest

It can be hard to keep everyone interested in a project after its initial start. You want residents to keep vigilance with the Neighborhood Watch Program. There are a few ways to keep everyone involved, such as planning neighborhood outings, meetings, summer picnics, and a monthly Neighborhood Watch Newsletter.

Does your HOA community have a Neighborhood Watch Program? Email nicoleh@ospreyobserver.com to be featured in next month’s edition.