Parkersburg and Wood County Neighborhood Watch

About Neighborhood Watch

Find Us on FacebookNeighborhood Watch is one of the oldest and most effective crime prevention programs in the country, bringing citizens together with law enforcement to deter crime and make communities safer.

In This Section
What is Neighborhood Watch?
How Neighborhood Watch Operates
What You Can Do
Other Neighborhood Watch Activities
Observation
Suspicious Activities
Obtain Details About the Suspect
Describing the Vehicle
Calling the Police
Dialing 911

National Neighborhood Watch began in 1972 with funding in part by the National Sheriffs’ Association, through a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The funding from the grant has come to an end. But NSA knows how vital a program this is.

Our nation is built on the strength of our citizens. Every day, we encounter situations calling upon us to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement. Not only does Neighborhood Watch allow citizens to help in the fight against crime, it is also an opportunity for communities to bond through service. The Neighborhood Watch Program draws upon the compassion of average citizens, asking them to lend their neighbors a hand. The National Neighborhood Watch Program (formerly USAonWatch) is the portal for training to assist law enforcement agencies and their communities, technical assistance, resource documents, watch stories, networking, and assistance to the field.

Since 1972, the National Neighborhood Watch Program (housed within the National Sheriffs’ Association) has worked to unite law enforcement agencies, private organizations, and individual citizens in a nation-wide effort to reduce crime and improve local communities. The success of the program has established Neighborhood Watch as the nation’s premier crime prevention and community mobilization program. Visible signs of the program are seen throughout America on street signs, window decals, community block parties and service projects.

Sponsored by the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), Neighborhood Watch can trace its roots back to the days of colonial settlements, when night watchmen patrolled the streets. The modern version of Neighborhood Watch was developed in response to requests from sheriffs and police chiefs who were looking for a crime prevention program that would involve citizens and address an increasing number of burglaries.

The National Neighborhood Watch program empowers citizens to become active in community efforts through participation in Neighborhood Watch groups. Neighborhood Watch counts on citizens to organize themselves and work with law enforcement to keep a trained eye and ear on their communities, while demonstrating their presence at all times of day and night. (The program took off quickly: in just ten years, NSA data showed that 12 percent of the population was involved in a Neighborhood Watch.) Neighborhood Watch works because it reduces opportunities for crime to occur; it doesn’t rely on altering or changing the criminal’s behavior or motivation.

Watching out for our neighborsThe Parkersburg/Wood County Neighborhood Watch Co-op is a small group of citizens dedicated to the control, management, maintenance, and most importantly, the implementation of and the transition to the concept of Community-Oriented policing in the city of Parkersburg, West Virginia, and the surrounding unincorporated areas of Wood County.

The organization of the committee is based on the geographic distribution of all of the Neighborhood Watch Groups in the city and county. The geographic boundaries are determined by the postal ZIP Code regions of the city. There are more Neighborhood Watch Groups in some ZIP Code areas than others, primarily because of the size of the land mass, and secondly because of citizen interest. These areas are sub-divided into sub-ZIP code sized areas.

The Co-op President is the guiding force of the Neighborhood Watch Co-op. This individual works almost daily with the Parkersburg Police Department and Wood County Sheriff’s Office to understand, relate, and communicate the focus, direction, needs, and desires of the entire area-wide community to the police and sheriff’s departments in order to complement the partnership between law enforcement and the citizens. In addition, the president must direct regularly-scheduled committee meetings, appoint sub-committees to address specific problems and concerns, and generally exhibit administrative characteristics that command respect and direct the orderly fashion of business as it is required.

A Neighborhood Watch Group is a group of concerned citizens in a small geographic region of a community (usually not more than two or three blocks) who are organized, committed, informed, and structured in a hierarchy of watchers, watch captains, and co-captains or lieutenants.

The Neighborhood Watch has seven primary objectives:

  1. Maintain a cooperative system of surveillance over one another's property, children, etc.
  2. Report suspicious activity, suspicious persons, or crimes in progress accurately and immediately to the police.
  3. Mutually assist and encourage the attainment of home security surveys, crime target hardening procedures, property marking activities, comprehensive crime prevention awareness, and the elimination of the opportunity for crime.
  4. Maintain a continuing system for the dissemination of information and educational materials relative to self-protection and criminal awareness and adjust program emphasis in accordance with the most current information.
  5. Encourage neighbors to report crimes and come forward as witnesses of criminal activity.
  6. Assist and support victims of crime.
  7. Help elderly or debilitated citizens and children protect themselves from becoming crime victims. Advocate and push for additional projects to protect these special groups of persons whenever necessary.

To start a Neighborhood Watch Group

  • Talk to your neighbors and spark their interest; try to get the majority to participate
  • Contact any one of our officers or Parkersburg Police Department representatives and set up a date and place for a meeting (church, school, or residence)
  • Invite all interested neighbors
  • Refer to the “Join Us” page for additional information

At the meeting …

  • A representative from the Neighborhood Watch Co-op will attend; a representative from the Parkersburg Police Department may also attend
  • Talk about crime prevention and specific neighborhood problems (usually a group doesn’t progress from here until a problem is identified)
  • Pass out Neighborhood Watch brochures on home security and Neighborhood Watch window stickers (when available)
  • Select a captain and two or three lieutenants or co-captains
  • Start a telephone tree (all neighbors write down their name, address, and phone number)
  • Select a place for the city to erect Neighborhood Watch signs
  •  Discuss what you would like to talk about in future meetings (home security, fire safety, personal safety, juvenile problems)

For more information, see the Contact Us page.

Page last updated on Thursday, 14 November 2019 10:19 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
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