Business and Neighborhood Watch is a group of neighbors looking out for neighbors. It is getting to know each other and becoming familiar with our neighbor's habits and vehicles so that you will know when something is suspicious or out of the ordinary. In addition to recognizing potential suspicious activities, Watch participants report such activity by calling 911, also notifying your Watch Chairperson or Coordinator.
All of this doesn't make you a nosy neighbor - it makes you a good neighbor in the old-fashioned sense of the word. Many people don't want to bother the police because they are afraid that it may not be a real emergency or that they may be embarrassed if their suspicions turn out to be unfounded. The police would much rather be called out to investigate than to be called after a crime has been committed.
When in doubt, always call 911. The 911 dispatch center is staffed with trained operators who will evaluate your call, rank its priority and dispatch it to the appropriate officer.
Neighborhood Watch does NOT mean being a vigilante. Participants do not confront suspects or take any personal risk at all.
BENEFITS OF HAVING A WATCH PROGRAM:
Improved livability A team concept of neighbors working together. Improved security A partnership with the Sheriff's Office Information about available resources and services
STEP ONE: Getting Started.
Download the Neighborhood Watch Packet.
Determine the area you want to organize. This should be the area you consider your "neighborhood". Groups can range in size from 5 to 50, or more.
Find neighbors to assist you. These people will form your initial group of Neighborhood Watch Volunteers. A good number would be one person per 8 to 10 households. Determine the best night of the week for a presentation. Most Watch presentations are held during the evening hours.
STEP TWO: Contact the Sheriff's Office to schedule a speaker.
Lt. Junior Barnhill is the Dorchester County Neighborhood Watch Coordinator. He can be contacted via Email at, firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone him at (843) 832-0312, (843) 563-0312 or (843) 200-4207
Arrange a meeting location close to your neighborhood. It should have enough room to hold your invited neighbors and, if needed, for the use of audio visual aids such as an overhead projector.
STEP THREE: Invite your neighbors.
Distribute invitations at least 2 weeks prior to the meeting. The most effective way to do this is to ask the Watch volunteers to hand-carry them to neighbors and ask if they will attend. Get names, phone numbers and Email addresses, if possible and make reminder calls later.
Distribute a meeting "reminder" notice 3 days before the meeting or make personal phone calls.
STEP FOUR: Prepare a neighborhood map.
Prepare a map or plat plan showing names, phone numbers, Email addresses and street addresses of each household. Plat maps can be accessed from the Dorchester County website at, http://www.dorchestercounty.net.
STEP FIVE: The Presentation
At the presentation you will:
Identify concerns and develop an Action Plan
Learn crime prevention techniques such as home security, personal safety and Operation Identification.
Learn how to report suspicious activity.
Meet your neighbors and establish a communication network (phone tree, Email notification, etc.)
Recruit your Coordinator and Block Captains.
You will learn how to order Business or Neighborhood Watch signs.
STEP SIX: Maintenance
Once your neighborhood has been organized, maintaining interest in Neighborhood Watch is important. It is too easy for us to forget to keep that vigilance we thought was so important in the beginning. Some groups maintain interest by planning neighborhood outings, meetings, summer picnics and passing out a Neighborhood Watch Newsletter every month.
Prevention material available via speaker presentations, brochure and or videotapes.
Burglary - Commercial/Residential and Operation ID. Theft Vehicle Theft and Car Clouts (Theft of items from Vehicles) Sexual/Personal Assualt Criminal Mischief Personal Safety Domestic Violence Child Abduction/Safety Rural Crime Illegal Drugs Identity Theft - http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft Consumer Fraud