Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood watch is probably the best known program at the Police Department. Two community outreach officers, Jeff Boyd with field operations south and Robert Burchette, field operations north will be happy to direct you to an existing neighborhood watch group or help you get a new one started.

Who Can Join
Any community resident can join: young or old, single or married, renter or home owner. A few concerned residents, a community organization, or a law enforcement can spearhead the effort to organize a watch. Members learn how to make their homes more secure, how to watch out for each other and the neighborhood, and how to report suspicious activities to the police or sheriff's office. A watch group can be formed around any geographical unit: a street block, apartment complex, park, business area, public housing complex, or an office.

Watch groups are not vigilantes. They are extra eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors. Neighborhood watch helps build pride and serves as a springboard for efforts that address community concerns such as recreation for youth, child care, and affordable housing.

Getting Organized
Contact Officer Burchette at 336-887-7807 or Officer Boyd at 336-887-7824, for training in home security, reporting skills, and visit the Department's crimemapping site for information on local crime patterns. Select a coordinator and block captains to be responsible for organizing meetings and relaying information to members. Recruit members, keeping up-to-date on new residents and making special efforts to involve the elderly, working parents, and young people. Work with local government or law enforcement to put up Neighborhood Watch signs after at least 50% of all households are enrolled.

What to Look For
Neighbors look for:
  • Someone screaming or shouting for help
  • Someone looking into windows and parked cars
  • Unusual noises
  • Property being taken out of closed businesses or houses when no one is at home
  • Vehicles moving slowly with no apparent destination, or without lights on at night
  • Anyone being forced into a vehicle
  • A stranger sitting in a car or stopping to talk to a child
  • Abandoned cars
Report these incidents to the police immediately. You may also report incidents to Crimestoppers if you prefer. Talk with your neighbors about the problem.

How to Report
When reporting an incident you will want the following details handy:
  • Give your name and address.
  • Briefly describe the event: what happened, when, where, and who was involved.
  • Describe the suspect: sex, race, age, height, weight, hair color, clothing, distinctive characteristics such as beard, mustache, scars, or accent.
  • Describe the vehicle if one was involved: color, make, model, year, license plate, and special features such as stickers, dents, or decals.
Continue Enthusiasm
It's an unfortunate fact that when a neighborhood crime crisis goes away, so does enthusiasm for Neighborhood Watch. Work to keep your Watch group a vital force for community well-being. Organize regular meetings that focus on current issues such as drug abuse, bias-motivated violence, crime in schools, child care before and after school, recreational activities for young people, and victim services. Organize community patrols to walk around streets or apartment complexes and alert police to crime and suspicious activities and identify problems needing attention.