Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Neighborhood Watch programs can impact home values

[This article was originally posted at Nooga.com]

A Neighborhood Watch program brings together law enforcement, local officials and residents in an effort to work together to provide protection for their homes and communities.

Studies show that the Neighborhood Watch program is one of the most effective and important anti-crime strategies in the country. A neighborhood watch can help police cut down in crime, as you are going to notice suspicious and out of place behavior before they will. For any community that is interested in providing its citizens a safe and pleasant environment, a crime watch program is one of the least expensive ways in which to do so.

Typically, the biggest impact that the program has is on burglary. Neighborhood Watch programs are successful at deterring this type of crime as neighbors are trained to notice suspicious activity and report it to law enforcement officials and one another.

Recently, I have witnessed the activities of my own neighborhood program report about the description of suspects taking bicycles out of my neighbor's garage and a constant update of relevant information about the event and the suspect. They seem to organize, mobilize and report all the facts about a suspicious activity that takes place in my neighborhood. Watch signs and decals work to discourage would-be burglars and aid in an effort toward crime prevention.

The idea of watch programs is not new. People regularly used to sit on their front porches watching the comings and goings within their neighborhoods. And they would report any discrepancies to one another and to the police.

The Neighborhood Watch program brings this practice back to life by encouraging people to take care of one another. The combined effort of the members of the crime watch, the community and the local law enforcement agency is essential for the success of any neighborhood watch.

Neighborhoods with established and successful programs should most definitely see a positive impact on their property's value. The program reinforces the community's pride and involvement in their commitment to home ownership. It sends a statement to would-be home buyers that this is a community that is engaged, involved and cares about itself. Home buyers are attracted to a community that has an established Neighborhood Watch program as opposed to a community without one.

Any neighborhood is susceptible to criminals coming from the outside into their community. Most crimes committed are not by a community's neighbors but by outsiders that drift into the area.

High end communities with gated entrances and guard shacks are another example of communities wanting to add protection from any outside criminal activities. The existence of a gated entrance or a guard shack does not decrease the property value of the properties inside the community. In fact, they reinforce the values by their existence and their commitment to the community just like a community with a Neighborhood Watch program.

The mere fact of a community wanting to help protect and watch out for suspicious activities does not decrease the value of a property within that community.

The success of any Neighborhood Watch program depends on the participation and dedication of its citizens. Regular meetings are mandatory for the success of a crime watch group.

Starting a program in your community can strengthen the bonds among its citizens and make it a safer place to live. First, contact your local police or sheriff department. They should be able to facilitate the meeting and have the information resources for the start up. Next, you would set up a meeting with neighbors to give out information and solicit community participation.

There are many benefits to a Neighborhood Watch Program. It's a great way to build community, cut down on crime and rethink what a "neighborhood" is all about.

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