Monthly Archives: July 2008

Neighborhood Watch Telephone Chain

Starting a neighborhood telephone chain is an effective way to spread important information quickly.  The easiest way to do this is to have a separate phone chain for each Block Captain.  When emergency information needs to be related quickly, designate a person, usually the Program Coordinator, to call each Block Captain.  The Block Captains will then call whoever is second on their list, and that person will then call whoever is next on the list and so on.  If someone does not answer their phone move on to the next person on the list.  It is important however to leave a message or call back the person who did not answer their phone and was passed over.  Below you will find a sample neighborhood watch telephone chain that your group can use.


1)    Block Captain:    _______________________________________
    Telephone #:        _______________________________________

2)    Name:            _______________________________________
    Telephone #:        _______________________________________

3)    Name:            _______________________________________
    Telephone #:        _______________________________________

4)    Name:            _______________________________________
    Telephone #:        _______________________________________

5)    Name:            _______________________________________
    Telephone #:        _______________________________________

6)    Name:            _______________________________________
    Telephone #:        _______________________________________

7)    Name:            _______________________________________
    Telephone #:        _______________________________________

8)    Name:            _______________________________________
    Telephone #:        _______________________________________

9)    Name:            _______________________________________
    Telephone #:        _______________________________________

10)    Name:            _______________________________________
    Telephone #:        _______________________________________

Continue reading

Neighborhood Watch Sign-Up Sheet

Neighborhood Watch Sign-Up Sheet

1) Name:________________________________________________________________
Phone Number:___________________________________________________________
Email Address:___________________________________________________________

Phone Number:___________________________________________________________
Email Address:___________________________________________________________

Phone Number:___________________________________________________________
Email Address:___________________________________________________________

Phone Number:___________________________________________________________
Email Address:___________________________________________________________

Phone Number:___________________________________________________________
Email Address:___________________________________________________________

Phone Number:___________________________________________________________
Email… Continue reading

Neighborhood Watch Roster


Name:     __________________________________________________________________

Address:    __________________________________________________________________


Phone #:    __________________________________________________________________

Cell #:        __________________________________________________________________

E-Mail:    __________________________________________________________________

Name:     __________________________________________________________________

Address:… Continue reading

Neighborhood Watch Program By-Laws

Neighborhood Watch Program By-Laws

Article I
Name and Location
Section 1. Name. The name of this organization shall be ____________________________.
Section 2. The organization shall serve the neighborhood of___________________________.
  (may add specific boundaries or divide neighborhood into separate districts as needed).   

Section 3.  Any person who resides in the area defined by Article I, Section 2 may be a member of this Neighborhood Watch Group.

Article II
 Purposes and Objectives

Section 1. Specific Objectives and Purposes. The specific objectives and purposes of this organization shall be:       



Article III
Finances and Records

Section 1.  All checks, drafts and other orders for the payment of monies, notes or other evidence of indebtedness issued in the name of     (name of organization)     will be signed by any two of the following officers: President, Vice- President, Secretary, Treasurer and Program Coordinator.  No two members of the same household may be signers on the same check, draft or other payment.

Section 2.  All funds of     (name of organization)      will be deposited to the credit of the organization in such federally insured institutions as the Board of Directors may elect.

Section 3.  The Board of Directors may accept on behalf of the     (name of organization)      Any contribution, gift, or bequest for the general purposes or for any special purpose of the organization. 

Article IV
Section 1. Designation of Officers. The Officers of this Neighborhood Watch Organization will consist of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Program Coordinator. 
Section 2. Qualifications. Only Neighborhood Watch members who currently reside in the areas designated in Article I, Section 2 and are over the age of 21 are able to hold office.
Section 3. Election and Term of Office.  Officers are elected by a majority vote of the group’s members.  Terms of Office will be___________________.  Nominations will be taken and elections will be held:

Section 4. Removal and Resignation.  Any Officer whose actions are not in the best interest of the association may be removed by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of members present at a regular meeting when a quorum is present, after a notice of intent to remove has been given at the preceding meeting.  Termination of office will begin immediately. 
An Officer may resign at any time.  The Board of Directors will appoint a replacement to serve for the remainder of the resigned or removed officer’s term.
Section 5. Duties of Officers. (To Be Customized).

Vice President:




Program Coordinator:       

Article V
Board of Directors

Section 1.  The Board of Directors will consist of the following elected Officers: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Program Coordinator.

Section 2.  The Board of Directors will be responsible for the business referred to it by the Neighborhood Watch Program and by these Bylaws. 

Section 3.  The Board of Directors will hold a Board meeting monthly, prior to monthly general membership meeting.  The date, time and place of the meetings will be left to the discretion of the Board.  Special Meetings may be called by either the President or by a majority vote of the Board. 

Section 4.  Any member of this Neighborhood Watch Program may appear before Board of Directors, at its Board meeting, with prior approval of a Board member, for the purpose of presenting matters of concern or issues for the Board’s consideration. 

Article VI

Section 1.  General Membership meetings will be held monthly.  The date, time and location for all monthly meetings will be determined by the Board of Directors.  Reports from any and all committees will be given either orally or in writing during each monthly meeting.

Section 2. Special General Membership meetings may be called by the President, a majority vote of the Board of Directors or a majority vote of the General Membership.       

Section 3.  The Annual Meeting will be held in the month of ______________ for the purpose of the Board of Directors, Block Captains and any Committees to give an annual report, update the organization on progress made during the previous year and to set the Neighborhood Watch Program’s goals and objectives for the upcoming year. 

Section 4.  Quorum for meetings. A majority of the number of members in attendance at any meeting shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at that meeting.

Article VII
Section 1. Committees.  The Board of Directors may form permanent or temporary committees at their discretion.  The committees may consist of both Board members and general membership, with their duties to be determined by the Board.  General members may request that the Board form a committee for a specified purpose.    
Section 2. Meetings and Action of Committees. Meetings and action of committees shall be governed by and held in accordance with the provisions of these Bylaws concerning meetings of the Board of Directors.

Article VIII
Amendment of Bylaws
Section 1. Amendment. Proposed amendments to these Bylaws must first be submitted in writing to the Board of Directors at least one week prior to the next regularly scheduled monthly Neighborhood Watch meeting.  The Board will then read the proposed amendments at the meeting and give either a recommendation for or against the proposed amendments and announce that a vote will be held at the next regularly scheduled meeting.  A vote will be held at that meeting with a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the general membership needed for the proposed amendment to pass.  If a two-thirds vote occurs, the amendment will be considered part of these Bylaws.

Adoption of Bylaws
We, the undersigned, are all of the initial directors of this Neighborhood Watch Program, and we consent to, and hereby do, adopt the foregoing Bylaws, consisting of _______preceding pages, as the Bylaws of this organization.
Dated: _____________
Signatures of Board Members:

Individual neighborhood watch organizations are encouraged to customize these Bylaws to meet their specific needs.
Continue reading

Report a crime



Tips for Recognizing Suspicious Activity

Tips for Recognizing Suspicious Activity

Program Coordinators should contact their local law enforcement agency to set up training sessions for your neighborhood watch program so that members may be better prepared to recognize suspicious activity and report it to the… Continue reading

Starting a Neighborhood Watch Program

Getting Your Neighborhood Watch Program Started

First Steps:

1.  Begin by forming a small planning group with neighbors to discuss the problems and needs of your neighborhood and to gauge the interest in forming a neighborhood watch program.  Decide on a date, time and location for an initial meeting with a larger group of your neighbors.  Try to pick a place that is convenient for everyone in the neighborhood such as a church, school or community center, although if this is not possible a private home will work as well.  
2.  Contact as many of your neighbors as possible.  Ask them if they feel at risk of being the victim of burglary, vandalism, theft or other crimes.  Explain that crime has an effect on everyone either directly or indirectly and that neighbors and community members can play a large role in preventing crime.  Ask them if they would be willing to attend a meeting to organize a neighborhood watch program in your community.  Design an invitation or flyer to handout to neighbors that contains the date, time and location of your initial meeting (see sample flyer).  After a few days have passed, follow up with each neighbor who has agreed to participate and remind them of the upcoming meeting.
3.  Contact your local law enforcement agency at least a week to ten days prior to your first meeting.  Explain to them that you are organizing a neighborhood watch program and that you would like their assistance.  Request that an officer be present at your initial meetings or that the Chief assign an officer to work regularly with your group.  The officer will be able to help your neighborhood watch group determine your community’s needs, provide you with crime statistics for your area, help your group form specific and attainable goals, assist with training group members and allow for improved communication between the group and law enforcement officials.  Ask the officer to bring along any crime prevention or other materials to the meetings that may be useful to your group.         

Does the Group need to be a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization?
Although some neighborhood watch groups do decide to become a 501(c)(3) corporation it is certainly not necessary.  While larger organizations that plan on raising large amounts of money may want to consider taking this step, smaller groups may want to avoid the extra paper work, record keeping and time it takes to obtain 501(c)(3) status.  For more information on the pros and cons of becoming a 501(c)(3) corporation and on the application process please visit:
If your watch group decides to become a non-profit corporation it will need to draft Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.  A sample Articles of Incorporation form can be found at    Also see the Sample Bylaw form for a 501(c)(3) that we have included.  This is a very basic set of bylaws for neighborhood watch groups that want to become a non-profit organization and if your watch group does decide to take this step, it is encouraged to seek additional legal advice.   

ips for the Initial Meetings
1.  With the help of the attending law enforcement officer, set clear and attainable goals for your group.
2.  Make a roster of names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of group members (see Sample Roster Form). 
3.  Ask for volunteers to create bylaws for your group (see Sample Bylaw Form). Explain the Officer Positions. (See Program Coordination).  Take nominations or ask for volunteers so that elections can be held.  
4.  Draw a large map of the neighborhood that the watch group will serve.  Further divide the neighborhood into districts containing 10-20 houses.  Once smaller districts are formed, take nominations for the position of Block Captain for each smaller district.
5.  Decide as a group whether to charge membership dues.  Some watch groups feel this is necessary so that the group has a small budget to operate with, other feel that dues are not needed and either choose not to raise funds or choose other ways to raise money.  
6.  Set a date, time and place for your next meeting.  It is important in the planning and development stages of your neighborhood watch program to have meetings on a regular basis.  If they are spaced too far apart momentum will be lost and the group could be at risk of falling apart.  Meetings for the general membership should be held at least monthly.   

Coordinating Your Program 
    In order for your neighborhood watch program to achieve success, it is important to be well organized.  Each individual program should coordinate according to its own needs.  Below are some suggestions for possible positions and duties that may be helpful when coordinating your neighborhood watch group.
Board of Directors- The Board of Directors serve as the head of the neighborhood watch program.  The Board is generally made up of whatever officers the group decides is necessary.  For smaller groups, having a Board may not be necessary, but for larger watch groups, or groups that want to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, having a Board of Directors is important.  If your group does decided it wants to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the IRS usually requires that the corporation have at least three unrelated people serving on the Board.  The corporation must also have the officer positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer, but they can all be held by the same person.  The Board will craft the overall objectives and goals or the organization, decide when and how to expand, create and oversee committees and may be given special voting privileges. 
Officers- It is generally a good idea for neighborhood watch programs to accept nominations and hold elections for officers.  The most common officer positions are President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary, although there may be more positions depending on your group’s needs.  The President is in charge of running the meetings and overseeing the overall operations and activities of the group.  The Vice President fills in for the President when he or she is unable to perform their duties and may have additional duties depending on the needs of the specific organization.  The Treasurer is in charge of keeping track of any funds that the organization may raise and all financial records.  The Secretary is generally in charge of keeping the minutes at the meetings and keeping the organization’s non-financial records.        
    Having a Board of Directors and Officers is a good way for larger neighborhood watch programs to organize.  However, it may not be necessary to have all of these positions if you are organizing a smaller group.  Having a Program Coordinator and Block Captains is a good way for smaller neighborhood watch programs to coordinate as well as a structure for larger organizations to continue coordinating below the Board of Directors and Officer positions.  In many groups the Program Coordinator is also considered an Officer and serves on the Board of Directors.
Program Coordinator- This position can be seen as the head of the day to day operations of the watch group.  The Program Coordinator can be in charge keeping track of and expanding membership of the organization, act as a liaison between the program’s general membership, law enforcement officers, civic groups and the Block Captains.  They can help organize neighborhood patrols, obtain and distribute Neighborhood Watch signs and decals, and set up training sessions for group members. 
Block Captains- Neighborhoods involved in the neighborhood watch program should be divided into smaller groups of between 10-20 houses.  Each of these smaller groups should elect one of its residents to be a Block Captain.  The Block Captain can act as a liaison between residents of their specific block and the Program Coordinator, establish block rosters and a telephone chain, set up block meetings to discuss the potential problems and needs of the individual block, organize neighborhood beautification projects and invite new members to join the neighborhood watch program.
Committees- Although they are not necessary, your neighborhood watch group may decide to form committees to carry out certain functions.  When you are first forming your group you may want to create a committee to draft bylaws.  As your watch group grows you may find it helpful to form committees to oversee the carrying out of various tasks such as a fund-raising committee, a growth and outreach committee or a committee to keep track of new risks and problems in your community.     


Continue reading