Neighborhood Watch Essay, Research Paper
The Neighborhood Watch:
One of the most effective crime prevention tools being utilized today is the Neighborhood Watch. The Neighborhood Watch was designed to help strengthen the relationships between neighbors and in the process build community wide crime prevention. Law enforcement officials have for years relied on the community to assist in apprehending criminals after the crime has been committed. With a Neighborhood Watch, this assistance is proactive instead of reactive, meaning that the watch can stop the crime before it occurs.
A Neighborhood Watch can be formed around any geographical unit: a block, apartment, public housing complex or neighborhood. A watch group serves as an extra set of eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors. The effectiveness of a Neighborhood Watch is depends on its members. The Neighborhood Watch serves as a springboard for efforts that address community concerns such as recreation for youth, child care, and affordable housing. A Neighborhood Watch can easily be set up, first contact your neighbors, then then contact your local law enforcement agency and check about setting up a Neighborhood Watch meeting. In order for a group to be certified as a neighborhood watch, most agencies require a minimum of two initial meetings. After the two initial meetings, it is up to each neighborhood to elect a captain for the Neighborhood Watch. Once this is done, the captain will receive signs that will announce to would be criminals that the neighborhood is “on the watch.” (National Crime Prevention)
There are some tips that are important to keep in mind, which help the Neighborhood watch succeed. First, organize regular meetings that focus on current issues such as drug abuse, crime in schools, recreational activities for young people, and neighborhood problems. Second organize community patrols to walk around streets or apartment complexes and report suspicious activity to police. People in cars with cellular phones or CB radios can also patrol. Also, adopt a park or street in the neighborhood. Pick up litter, repair broken equipment, paint over graffiti, to make the neighborhood look nicer. If your resources will allow, publish a newsletter that gives prevention tips and local crime news, recognizes residents of all ages who have “made a difference,” and highlights community events. Plan neighborhood social events such as block parties, picnics, and volleyball or softball games. (Crime Prevention)
Some of the things that a Neighborhood Watch should be looking for are, someone screaming or shouting for help, someone looking into windows and parked cars, unusual noises, property taken out of closed businesses or houses where no one is at home, cars, vans, or trucks moving slowly with no apparent destination, or without lights, anyone being forced into a vehicle, strangers sitting in a car or stopping to talk to a child, and abandoned cars.
This program falls under the neighborhood/ community category, obviously because a Neighborhood Watch is designed to help the neighborhood. Creating the Neighborhood Watch fits into the routine activities theory, because taking away the element known as lack of supervision will prevent crime. Also, the Neighborhood Watch could fit into the social disorganization theory, because, social disorganization talks about how the people in the community do not know each other very well, and the union of the community which occurs with the neighborhood watch would cause more people to know each other and pay more attention to what’s going on in the community.
School-based prevention programs include interventions to prevent a variety of forms of “problem behavior,” including theft, violence, illegal acts of aggression, alcohol or other drug use; rebellious behavior, anti-social behavior, aggressive behavior, defiance of authority, and disrespect for others. These different forms of delinquent behavior are highly correlated and share common causes. Many of the programs were not specifically designed to prevent the problem behaviors, but instead to affect presumed causal factors such as school drop-out, truancy, or other correlates which are expected to increase protection against or decrease risk towards engaging in problem behaviors at some later date. This focus on non-crime program outcomes is effective because the young ages of many of the students. Positive program effects on reading skills for six-year-old’s may be as important in terms of later crime prevented as reducing marijuana use for sixteen-year-old’s. Many prevention researchers and practitioners also assume a link between less serious problem behaviors and later more serious crime. The characteristics of conduct problems are so highly related to delinquent behavior they may even be considered a starting point for it. Studies of school-based prevention often measure these characteristics in addition to actual delinquent behavior because the students are too young to have initiated delinquent behavior, so these students are learning this behavior from somewhere. Conduct problem behavior includes a variety of behaviors: defiance, disrespect, rebelliousness, hitting, stealing, lying, fighting, talking back to persons in authority, etc. Low self control is a disposition to behave impulsively, and aggression involves committing acts of hostility and violating the rights of others. School-wide efforts to redefine norms for behavior and signal appropriate behavior through the use of rules. These include activities such as newsletters, posters, and/or ceremonies during which students declare their intention to remain drug-free, and displaying symbols of appropriate behavior. Some well-known interventions in this category are “red ribbon week” sponsored through the Department of Education’s Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities program and school-wide campaigns against bullying. The category also includes efforts to establish or clarify school rules or discipline codes and mechanisms for the enforcement of school rules.
Some of these intervention programs provide instruction to students to teach them factual information, increase their awareness of social influences to engage in misbehavior, expand their repertoires for recognizing and appropriately responding to risky or potentially harmful situation, and improve their moral character. Well-known examples include Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.), Law-related Education (L.R.E.), and Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.). (Gottfredson)
Another method used by schools is behavior modification thinking, this involves strategies focusing directly on changing behaviors and involves tracking specific behaviors over time, behavioral goals, and uses feedback or positive or negative reinforcement to change behavior. These strategies rely on reinforcers external to the student to shape student behavior. Larger effects on behavior might be obtained by teaching students to modify their own behavior using a range of cognitive strategies research has found lacking in delinquent youth. Efforts to teach students “thinking strategies” involve modeling or demonstrating behaviors and providing rehearsal and coaching in the display of new skills. Students are taught, for example, to recognize the physiological cues experienced in risky situations. They rehearse this skill and practice stopping rather than acting impulsively in such situations. Students are taught and rehearsed in suggesting alternative activities when friends propose engaging in a risky activity. And they are taught to use prompts or cues to remember to engage in behavior.
School prevention programs falls under the area of school programs. These types of programs can be placed in the cognitive theories, and the learning theories, because it teaches children the proper way to act toward criminal situations that may arise through out life.
I chose to look at these two types of crime prevention programs because I think that they are very important in the future of crime prevention. Neighborhood watches are valuable to help stop a crime in progress, where as the school programs prevent crimes from happening by teaching children the right ways to act.
1. Crime Prevention Mathis, Wayne LT.
2. Crime Prevention Services Arkansas Crime Info Center
3. National Crime Prevention Council
4. School Based Crime Prevention Gottfredson, Denise