Neighborhood Watch Program
The Neighborhood Watch Program is organized to enable the police and the community to work together to make specific geographical areas more crime resistant to reduce crime. It is a citizen involvement, neighborhood and community-based effort, designed to help citizens and the sheriff's office in preventing primarily residential burglaries. In harmony with the philosophy of Community Policing, Neighborhood Watch encourages strong working relationships between patrol officers and the citizens they serve.
Neighborhood Watch, Crime Watch, whatever the title, is one of the most effective and least costly methods to prevent crime and reduce fear. The Watch idea is adaptable. A Watch can be organized around any geographic unit.
Why Neighborhood Watch
- It works. Throughout the county, dramatic decreases in burglary and related offenses are reported by law enforcement, where the Watch Program is active.
- Today's transient society produces communities that are less personal. Many families have two working parents and children involved in many activities that keep them away from home. An empty house in a neighborhood where none of the neighbors know the owner is a prime target for burglary.
- Neighborhood Watch also helps build pride and serves as a springboard for efforts that address other community concerns such as recreation for youth, childcare, and affordable housing.
Who Can Be Involved?
- Any community resident can join - young and old, single and married, renter and homeowner. Even the busiest of people can belong to a Neighborhood Watch - they too can keep an eye out for neighbors as they come and go.
What Does A Neighborhood Watch Do?
- A Neighborhood Watch is neighbors helping neighbors. They are extra eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors.
- Members meet their neighbors, learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for each other and the neighborhood, and report activities that raise their suspicions to the sheriff's office.
What Are My Responsibilities As A Watch Member?
- Be alert!
- Know your neighbors and watch out for each other.
- Report suspicious activities and crimes to the sheriff's office.
- Learn how you can make yourself and community safer.
What kind Of Activities Should I Be On The Lookout For As A Watch Member?
- Someone screaming or shouting for help.
- Someone looking in windows of houses and parked cars.
- Property being taken out of houses where no one is at home or from closed business.
- Cars, vans, trucks moving slowly with no apparent destination or without lights.
- Anyone being forced into a vehicle.
- A person running, especially if carrying something of value.
- A person exhibiting unusual mental or physical symptoms.
- Persons making a quick change of vehicles.
- Burglaries, robberies, thefts, auto break-ins, etc. in progress.
- Apparent drug trafficking.
- Apparent business transactions conducted from a vehicle.
- Open or broken doors or windows to a home or business.
- A stranger sitting in a car or stopping to talk to a child, etc.
How Should I Report These Incidents?
- Call 9-1-1.
- Give your name, address and telephone number.
- Briefly describe the event - what happened, when, where, and who was involved.
- Tell them as soon as possible if medical assistance is needed.
- Describe the suspect: sex, race, age, height, weight, hair color, clothing, and distinctive characteristics such as beard, mustache, scars, or accent.
- Tell them if weapons were involved.
- Tell the suspect's last known of direction of travel.
- Describe the vehicle if one was involved: color, make, model, year, license plate, and special features such as stickers, dents, or decals.
Remember: Watch groups are not vigilantes and do not assume the role of the police. They only ask citizens to be alert, observant, and caring and serve as extra eyes and ears for law enforcement and their neighbors.
For more information about how to form a watch group, or information about existing groups in your area, contact the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Division, Sgt. Jimmy Ross at 843-719-4713.