Start a Block Watch
We welcome the opportunity to work with you and your neighbors! Forming a Block Watch is both challenging and rewarding.
Consider the size of the Block Watch. The program works best when kept small — generally 10 to 12 homes, with no more than 20 homes facing each other.
Geographic boundaries — such as cul-de-sacs or cross streets — can aid in determining the size and configuration. The arrangement makes it easier for the group to gather for meetings and establishes a smaller area of responsibility.
Talk to a few of your closest neighbors and ask them to participate in the Block Watch. Go door to door and introduce yourselves to other neighbors.
To encourage other residents to join:
- Tell them about recent concerns in your neighborhood, prompting the need for a Block Watch.
- Ask which evenings they're available for meetings.
- Get acquainted on a first-name basis, exchange phone numbers and tell your neighbors you'll notify them when a meeting is scheduled.
Once you determine which evening works best, email Commander Paula Schwan or call at 425-837-3213 to invite police to the neighborhood meeting. (Typically, two weeks' notice is needed to schedule police.) Then, contact your neighbors and notify them of the date, time and location of the meeting. Remind your neighbors in person, by phone or email two or three days before the event.
The first meeting is mostly a social event and a great opportunity to share information.
Participants will choose a Block Watch captain or co-captains. It should be someone who is willing to put a small amount of time into the program.
Often the person who initiates the meeting becomes the captain or a co-captain.
The leaders will gather information to complete a neighborhood map and member list complete with addresses and phone numbers.
Within a couple days of the meeting, the captain or co-captains will inform police about the selection of Block Watch leaders.
Within a week of the meeting, the captain or co-captains will provide police with a neighborhood map and member list.
The position of Block Watch captain is important.
The responsibility can be shared between two people as co-captains. This setup is recommended in the event one individual cannot be present for training, is out of town or needs assistance. It also helps neighbors to learn to work together as a team and become better acquainted.
A captain's responsibilities include:
- Distributing materials and crime alerts received from police.
- Updating the map and member list at least once a year, or when neighbors move.
- Greeting new neighbors, educating them about the program and encouraging them to join.
- Notifying all members if a neighbor is the victim of a crime.
- Organizing at least two block watch meetings a year to reacquaint neighbors and renew their commitment.
- Notifying police of a change in captains, and assisting in appointing a new captain.
Block Watch is an extension of what you probably do already. People tend to watch out for their closest neighbors. But you may not know everyone on your entire block.
Participating in your neighborhood Block Watch means you will:
- Learn neighbor's names and be able to recognize them and their vehicles.
- Keep an updated Block Watch map and member list in an easily accessible place.
- Attend neighborhood meetings and share your concerns and insights.
- Practice recommended security and crime-prevention measures for your family.
- Keep an eye on your neighbors' homes and report suspicious activity to police.
- Assist the Block Watch captain.
Our police department is committed to the ongoing success of your neighborhood's Block Watch.
The community resource officer coordinates and manages the program. With the assistance of the department, the community resource officer will:
- Work with community members interested in forming a Block Watch, by providing materials and scheduling police to speak at the start-up meeting.
- Review progress with the neighborhood captain or co-captains.
- Notify captains of criminal activity in their neighborhoods.
- Contact any City department that needs to be informed of a particular issue in a neighborhood.
- Provide training to Block Watch captains.
- Ensure each block watch holds semi-annual meetings, with at least one that includes a police representative.
- Arrange training if a neighborhood requests specific topics.
- Post Block Watch signs to neighborhoods actively participating in the program.
- Work with inactive Block Watch teams to re-establish the program.
Block Watch Signs
We post Block Watch signs in all neighborhoods actively participating in program. The signs let criminals know you are not an easy target and are working to deter crime in your neighborhood.
Neighborhoods that become inactive will have the sign removed. Before removal, the community resource officer will contact the Block Watch captain and make every effort to keep the block watch active.