Neighborhood Watch

Police Chief Loni and Mayor Guerin listen to Officer Conway at a public meeting

The River Grove Police Department is in the initial stages of creating a Neighborhood Watch program. Pictured above, from left to right, River Grove Police Chief Loni and Mayor Guerin listen to Officer Conway speak at a Neighborhood Watch meeting on February 13th.

What is Neighborhood Watch?

Neighborhood Watch is one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear. Neighborhood Watch fights the isolation that crime both creates and feeds upon. It establishes bonds among River Grove residents, reduces burglaries and robberies and improves relations between police and the community.

Important! Neighborhood Watch does not ask that any member take personal risk and there is no loss of privacy. Neighborhood Watch leaves the responsibility for apprehending criminals where it belongs...with the Police.

Why Neighborhood Watch?

It works! Throughout the country, dramatic decreases in burglary and related offenses are reported by police departments in communities with Neighborhood Watch programs.

Today's transient society produces communities that are less personal. Many families have two working parents and children involved in many activities that keep them away from home. An empty home in a neighborhood where none of the neighbors know each other is a prime target.

Neighborhood Watch can be formed around any apartment building, townhouse complex, park or residential home.

Neighborhood Watch Benefits

This program adheres to a simple philosophy: "Neighbors watching neighbors." It will continue to grow as more and more citizens communicate and demonstrate concern for their neighbors and neighborhoods. Once established, there are social benefits of the program as well. Not only does a Neighborhood Watch provide raised neighborhood awareness, enhanced sense of community and cooperation, and increased person-to-person neighbor interaction, but it also gives members a sense of belonging and offers the opportunity to contribute to the greater good: a safe and healthy community.

How do I start a Neighborhood Watch?

A motivated individual, a few concerned residents, a community organization, or a law enforcement agency can spearhead the efforts to establish a Watch. Together they can:

  • Organize a small planning committee of neighbors to discuss needs, the level of interest and possible community problems.
  • Select a coordinator or block captain volunteer who will be responsible for relaying information to neighbors.
  • Hold an initial meeting to gauge neighbors' interest, establish the purpose of the program, and begin to identify issues that need to be addressed.
  • Contact the River Grove Police Department at 708-453-2121.
  • Once recognized, work with the River Grove Police Department to install Neighborhood Watch signs, usually after at least 50% of all households are enrolled.
  • Continuously recruit members, keeping up-to-date information on new residents and making special efforts to involve the elderly, working parents and young people.

What are my responsibilities as a Neighborhood Watch member?

  • Be alert! Develop a watchful, concerned attitude. Be aware of what's going on in your area of the neighborhood.
  • Know your neighbors and watch out for each other!
  • Report suspicious persons, vehicles and activities to the police immediately.
  • Learn how to make yourself and your community safer.
  • Let someone in your group know when your home will be unoccupied and watch your neighbors' home when they are away.
  • Have a River Grove Police Officer conduct a security survey of your home. Security Surveys cover home safety, house and business alarms, locking systems, lighting and parking issues. An officer will check a number of security factors and will make recommendations about the interior of a home/business, such as ways to improve security of doors and windows.
  • Attend meetings with other Neighborhood Watch group members.

If you see something, say something

Residents need to be aware of:

  • Suspicious people loitering, soliciting or looking in vehicles or home windows.
  • Suspicious vehicles that make repeated trips to the neighborhood, are parked or occupied at unusual hours, or are left abandoned on the street.
  • Suspicious activity such as loud noises, the sound of breaking glass, frequent random visitors entering a home, or property being removed from a home or business.

How to report suspicious activity

  • Call 911
  • Provide your name and location to the dispatcher
  • Explain what happened
  • Describe suspicious people by sex, race, age, height, weight, hair color and clothing
  • Describe suspicious vehicles by color, make, model, license plate or special items such as racks, ladders, lettering and stickers

Additional Resources

Download our Neighborhood Watch PowerPoint.