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Conducting Neighborhood Watches: Tips For Association-Governed Communities

In the wake of recent news reports about the safety of neighborhood watch programs, many association-governed communities are reviewing their policies for neighborhood watches. In many communities, the reviews are taking place to help prevent what no community wants to happen during a neighborhood watch: injury to a stranger whose presence is mistaken for a security threat.

Nevertheless, a strict standard of safety must be maintained to ensure that those who do pose a threat are stopped.  What can communities do to ensure that neighborhood watches prevent tragic outcomes while protecting residents from criminal activity? Below are some helpful ideas.

 

 Establish a Law Enforcement Liaison

 

A law enforcement liaison is a law enforcement officer who helps establish and support community watch groups. The liaison works with communities to develop goals for watch programs and teaches them how to execute the programs in real life. A watch program is the eyes and ears of a police officer when he or she is not around. Therefore, establishing a law enforcement liaison to help develop the program is only sensible.

Conduct Background Checks

Most programs have watch leaders and block captains who are responsible for leading watches on rotating basis and ensuring that watches are conducted according to program rules. People who hold watch leader positions should demonstrate excellent character and have a clean legal record to gain the trust of the community. Conducting background checks on candidates helps to ensure that both conditions are met.      
 

Establish a Protocol For Action
 
When participants observe suspicious activity, they should have a protocol that guides their actions. When should police be called? Are there situations in which participants should try to intervene in criminal activity? Should participants be outfitted with equipment that helps them control a dangerous situation?  These are some important questions that a police liaison can help a community answer as it plans its neighborhood watch program.
 
Consult an HOA Management Company
 
HOA management companies work with association governed communities to improve services, including community security. If your community needs assistance planning neighborhood watches, an HOA manager will provide helpful advice based on the needs of your community. For More information about planning neighborhood watches, call an HOA management company today.

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