Sadly, that’s why a scan of the news headlines might lead you to believe neighborhood watch programs don’t work.
At Ring, we know this isn’t true. But don’t take our word for it, look at the stats:
According to one 2008 study by the Crime Prevention Research Review (US Department of Justice), areas with watch programs experienced a 16% reduction in crime versus control groups.
But you wouldn’t get that side watching the evening news, or searching Google.
So we decided to curate 15 neighborhood watch success stories. They may not have made the front page. They may not have an enthralling Hollywood-esque storyline.
But, they are 15 real reported examples where a local watch program led to an arrest or prevented a crime. Perhaps a child still has their mother or father thanks, in part, to a watch program.
That alone means the stories deserve to be heard.
We hope that if you’re considering starting a neighborhood watch in your community this may help inspire you to take action – you or someone in your ‘hood could be a hero like the people below!
Do you have a Neighborhood Watch Success story you’d like to share? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
#1 Glendale, CA – May 1999
A vigilant homeowner saw a man loitering for an extended period and quickly called a number given to her by her neighborhood watch “captain.” Within five minutes, the Glendale Police Department hovered a helicopter over the area as two squad cars pulled up on the street, eventually taking the man into custody.
“So a win-win for the neighborhood, for the unfortunate soul who’d wandered away from a mental facility but was safely returned, and for his family.”
#2 Cumming, GA – March 2009
Due to a series of entering auto (theft from vehicle) incidents, a community alert urged area residents to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. A few days later, several calls from residents resulted in the arrest of the culprit.
“As a result of this increased participation from and communication with the citizens served, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office was the 2009 winner of the National Sheriff’s Association Neighborhood Watch Award of Excellence, recognizing it as one of the safest counties in North Georgia.”
#3 Omaha, NE – August 2010
National Night Out is a way to make everybody stay involved with crime prevention in Omaha, Nebraska. In an expression of solidarity, all neighborhood porch lights are turned on to show their commitment toward a safer community.
“Because there’s so much crime that’s been around us that I thought maybe we needed a Neighborhood Watch and so far it’s worked, it has worked.”
#4 Suitland, MD – November 2010
A neighborhood watch volunteer, patrolling the halls of his apartment complex was tipped-off by a neighbor about a man suspected of committing a series of break-ins. The volunteer alerted police officers who later found the man in the building.
“Police say the crop of new neighborhood watch groups springing up this year throughout Suitland are proving to be powerful allies.”
#5 Las Vegas, NV – March 2012
Metro Police representatives stated auto burglaries, auto theft, and residential burglaries dropped by more than 30% due to the area’s 625 watch programs.
“The reason why I’m encouraging people to sign up for Neighborhood Watch is because it works.”
#6 Moss Point, MS – August 2012
A call from a neighborhood watch group helped area investigators unveil a pattern in burglaries, which soon led to found evidence and arrests.
“The arrests serve as a perfect example of the public working with the police department to accomplish its goals.”
#7 Stockton, CA – August 2013
A small community, experiencing high crime rates, fought back with a neighborhood watch that quickly exceeded 200 members, ultimately lowering crime to minimal levels.
“It’s really amazing what they’ve done out there. The whole community has seen the results.”
#8 Hilmar, CA – April 2014
A Hilmar farmer and his neighbors were victims of criminals who used onsite tractors to load hay in a dump truck, then stealing the truck. A photo along with information about the truck was posted to a Farm Watch Facebook page, and the truck was returned within 12 hours.
“Without a shadow of a doubt the Hilmar Farm Watch has helped the sheriff’s department catch criminals.”
#9 Merced, CA – October 2014
A mobile home park, comprised of 400, celebrated its efforts to fight crime and rid the neighborhood of drug trafficking, made possible with the start of a neighborhood watch program.
“We started a thing called Safe Streets and it helped us with the problem that we were having.”
#10 Pueblo, CO – January 2015
A neighborhood watch member called for more police cars in the area after a spike in theft, which led to three arrests involving two separate incidents in one night.
“When we’ve got an active neighborhood watch group that’s in constant contact with the police department, we have seen an increase in arrests, and crime going down in those areas.”
#11 Pensacola, FL – March 2015
Acting on a tip, police forces stopped a car driven by a suspect with a long history of arrests. He had 35 grams of cocaine and 9 grams of heroin in his possession.
“An anonymous tip came in through the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Neighborhood Watch program that led to the arrest”
#12 Englewood, IL – July 2015
Thanks to an anonymous grant, 300 Englewood residents were trained in conflict resolution. During Fourth of July weekend, notorious for gun-related deaths, not a single shooting occurred.
“The goal is to stop small problems from getting bigger.”
#13 Livingston, MO – September 2015
Neighbors tipped-off police about village residents suspected of committing home invasions, which led to arrests.
“This is an excellent case of neighborhood watch. The neighbors were observant and they broke this case. They led us to them.”
#14 Rotterdam, NY – September 2015
Area detectives shared footage taken at a local Walmart with a Facebook neighborhood watch group. A few hours after the video’s release, a watch member recognized the man and reported him to police.
“Police credit alert members of a neighborhood watch group for helping them catch a suspected purse thief.”
#15 Portage, PA – October 2015
Recent tips by civilian crime watchers helped police apprehend a pharmacy employee who was stealing pills.
“If you have a neighborhood watch and you have some 50 people out, that helps a heck of a lot and – believe me – criminals are aware of that also.”