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Neighborhood watch


Neighborhood watch

A neighborhood watch sign near Picayune, Mississippi, United States. Many U.S. signs feature "Boris the Burglar," a character owned by the National Sheriffs' Association.[1]
Speed limit and neighborhood watch signs in Durham, North Carolina, United States.
Sign denoting a Neighbourhood Watch area in Canberra, ACT, Australia.

A neighborhood watch or neighbourhood watch (see civilians devoted to crime and vandalism prevention within a neighborhood. In other words, neighborhood watch is a crime prevention scheme under which civilians agree together to keep an eye on one another's properties, patrol the street, and report suspicious incidents to law enforcement members.

The aim of neighborhood watch includes educating residents of a community on security and safety and achieving safe and secure neighborhoods. However, when a criminal activity is suspected, members are encouraged to report to authorities, and not to intervene.

In the United States, neighborhood watch builds on the concept of a town watch from Colonial America.


  • Organization and history 1
    • In the United States 1.1
    • Town watch 1.2
  • See also 2
    • Organizations 2.1
  • References 3

Organization and history

A neighborhood watch may be organized as its own group or may simply be a function of a neighborhood association or other community association.

Neighborhood watches are not vigilante organizations. When suspecting criminal activities, members are encouraged to contact authorities and not to intervene.

In the United States

The current American system of neighborhood watches began developing in the late 1960s as a response to the rape and murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York. People became outraged after reports that a dozen witnesses did nothing to save Genovese or to apprehend her killer.[2] Some local civilians formed groups to watch over their neighborhoods and to look out for any suspicious activity in their areas. Shortly thereafter, the National Sheriffs' Association began a concerted effort in 1972 to revitalize the "watch group" effort nationwide.[3]

The neighborhood watch system gained intense media attention after the February, 2012, fatal shooting of teenager

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See also

Like the town watchman of colonial America, each civilian must take an active interest in protecting his or her neighbors and be willing to give his or her time and effort to this volunteer activity.

The town watch program is similar to that of the neighborhood watch, the major difference is that the Town Watch tend to actively patrol in pseudo-uniforms, i.e. marked vests or jackets and caps, and is equipped with two way radios to directly contact the local police. The Town Watch serves as an auxiliary to the police which provides weapons (if any), equipment, and training. The town watch usually returns their gear at the end of their duty.

Town watch

In response to the Trayvon Martin case, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) began drafting a bill that would require neighborhood watch groups to be certified and limit their duties. Currently, with local police agencies setting guidelines for their neighborhood watches, groups across the U.S. vary greatly in their scope, function, the level of activity by their members, and training. Robert McCrie, professor of security management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, disagrees with Lee's initiative. He believes that standards for neighborhood watches “are best left to the state or local community,” although he would support background checks for volunteers.[11]

A June 2012 New York Times article reported that neighborhood watches in the New York City area are growing again after decades of decrease due to lower crime rates. It also said that neighborhood watch groups fell under scrutiny since the shooting of Trayvon Martin.[13]

In another incident involving a neighborhood watch, Eliyahu Werdesheim, part of an Orthodox Jewish community in Maryland, was convicted in May 2012 of second-degree assault and false imprisonment for beating and then pinning down a teenager he thought suspicious in 2010. Werdersheim and his brother, who had also been charged in the case but was acquitted, chose a bench trial, contending they would not get a fair trial due to the publicity over the Martin case.[10][11] He was given a three-year suspended sentence and three years of probation at sentencing in June 2012.[12]

[9].Hispanic Martin was black and Zimmerman is a mixed-race [8]. However, the FBI concluded their investigation and dropped its charges.hate crime for possibly committing a racial United States Department of Justice and he was investigated by the [5] Martin,profiling He has also been accused by prosecutors of [7][6] His actions on the night of the shooting generated controversy as he exited his vehicle and was carrying a gun, both of which go against neighborhood watch recommendations.[5] and manslaughter before he was acquitted from all charges.second-degree murder and was tried for self-defense Zimmerman claimed [4]

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