How to Start a Neighborhood Watch


First, concentrate your initial effort by organizing those neighbors with whom you have occasional contact. For example, if your block is mostly single family dwellings, invite neighbors on both sides of the street and adjacent corners. If you live in an apartment or condominium, include everyone in your building and in the adjacent buildings as space permits.

Secondly, talk to your neighbors and tell them you are starting a Neighborhood Watch and that you need their participation. Enlist the help of another willing neighbor to assist you. Introduce yourselves by going safely door-to-door. We suggest the following tips to encourage the neighbors to participate:

  • Tell your neighbors about any recent crime activity in the area. Inquire as to which evenings your neighbors are available. Generally, neighborhood meetings are conducted between 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
  • Exchange phone numbers. Tell your neighbors that you will notify them when a meeting is scheduled.
  • Take this opportunity to get acquainted on a first-name basis. This is vital to the success of your Neighborhood Watch!

If you need a location for your meeting, ask if neighbors can offer their home to host this or a future meeting. Alternative locations which can commonly accommodate a meeting include local schools, places of worship, and libraries.

Lastly, call the Grass Valley Police Department at (530) 477-4600 to schedule an available date and time for your first meeting. Indicate approximately how many households your Neighborhood Watch will include. Fliers which announce the date, time, location, and topic of your meeting can be made available to you. We suggest you distribute the fliers in person seven to ten days before the meeting. Solicit the help of neighbors to pass out the fliers. Two or three days prior to the meeting, remind your neighbors in person or by phone.

The COPP block officer assigned to your area will bring a summary of local crime activity and will assist you in running your first meeting.

Resources for Your Neighborhood Watch Program

While your COPP block officer is a primary contact for your Neighborhood Watch Program, several websites offer additional information and resources you may be interested in.