At the end of a long work day, the last place you and your neighbors want to be is a neighborhood watch meeting. However, neighborhood watch programs can play an important role in decreasing crime.
How do you reconcile these two contradictory points? It starts with a neighborhood watch meeting that’s actually enjoyable. Here are the top four ways you can spice up your neighborhood watch meetings to keep the community safe and unite its residents.
1. Bring in Professional Advice
If you’re a subscriber to our home security blog, you may know more than the average person about keeping your home and neighborhood safe. Regardless, it can be very useful to bring in outside experts to host a discussion for your meeting. These people have real experiences to share that may be relevant to potential situations within your neighborhood.
Some experts to consider inviting, include:
- Local police officer. Ask the officer to discuss crime prevention, security concerns in your area and news relating to community safety.
- Home security specialist. A security specialist can discuss home security tips and tricks, new technology and services and security implementation.
- State bar association speaker. A legal representative can discuss camera placement liabilities, lawsuit preventionfor watch programs and legal best practices.
2. Be Conscious of People’s Availability
The neighborhood watch meeting should never extend over one hour in length. Between work schedules, personal life and family life, it may already be difficult to find time to meet. Remember these points as you build a schedule:
- Change up the meeting times or days so people with different schedules have the opportunity to attend.
- The frequency of your meetings completely depends on your neighborhood watch team and their concerns, but typical programs can meet monthly, quarterly or semiannually.
- Email the team ahead of time with the agenda for the meeting, so that they can have comments or questions ready. Doing so can ensure time is well spent, because meeting topics are top-of-mind.
3. Create a Dialogue
Create meaningful conversation whenever possible. People don’t want to sit and hear one person read off an agenda for an hour. Instead, prepare relevant discussion topics, such as local safety concerns, news from other neighborhood watch programs or tips for new neighbors. Additional topics for discussion include:
- Children’s safety
- Crime deterrents and security myths
- Current safety status of the neighborhood
- Elderly outreach and safety
4. Make it Fun
Occasionally, change up your meetings by hosting community yard sales, potlucks and game nights instead of a formal meeting. These activities not only break up the monotony, but also allow for community development. Better camaraderie makes for a better neighborhood watch program.