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How To Start a Neighborhood Watch


How To Start a Neighborhood Watch
Photo by Teresa R. Simpson
Like any large city, Memphis has its share of crime. To combat this problem, citizens in communities across the city are banding together to fight crime through Neighborhood Watch programs. Unfortunately, there are still a large number of areas left unprotected. If yours is one of them, this guide will help you to organize your own Neighborhood Watch.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Up to a Month

Here's How:

  1. Define the neighborhood. Determine the area your Watch group will cover. Keep in mind that the bigger the area, the bigger the group will be. That means you will need a larger space for meetings, more materials for flyers, more time to organize, etc.
  2. Secure a meeting spot.If your Watch only covers your street, meetings can probably be held in a private home. If your area is much bigger, you may need to obtain permission to use a school or church in the area.
  3. Identify crime in your area. No area is completely free of crime and knowing just what crimes you are up against will greatly improve the chances of a successful Watch. The Memphis Police Department Crime Mapper will allow you to view crime activity in a given area searchable by zip code or address. After viewing these statistics, be sure to print them out as they will help you in creating your Watch group.
  4. Get help from law enforcement.Contact your neighborhood’s police precinct and ask for the Neighborhood Watch Coordinator. The coordinator will set up times to host two Neighborhood Watch meetings and give you tips on organizing your group. The Memphis Police Department Precinct phone numbers are:

    Central: 901-452-0956
    Downtown: 901-525-9800
    East: 901-795-3131
    North: 901-377-3700
    Northeast: 901-373-3883
    South: 901-332-1860
    Southeast: 901-774-4600
    West: 901-274-7012

  5. Recruit neighbors. The most effective way to get others involved is to convince them that there is a real need for a Watch. Many people erroneously believe that they live in a safe neighborhood. Using your data on crime for your location, you can effectively convince your neighbors to participate.
  6. Stay active. Set up a yearly meeting to receive new tips and updates from the police department. Throughout the year, touch base with your neighbors and encourage them to remain active. While it takes diligence and hard work to bring it all together, organizing a Neighborhood Watch can be a very effective way to reduce crime and make a difference in your community.


  1. Delegate, delegate, delegate! Don't be afraid to let others share in the responsibility of this big task.
  2. Utilize law enforcement - they are a valuable resource.
  3. Stay informed on crime in the area.

What You Need

  • A neighborhood without a Neighborhood Watch
  • A church, school, or home to hold meetings.
  • Some willing neighbors to assist you.
  • A printer and paper to print flyers and other informative materials.
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