Establishing a strong home security presence is an important part of creating a safe and relaxing environment for you and your family to live in – and We’re sure that you’ve probably already covered the basics: speaking to your family about securing your home, adding a monitored alarm system and maybe even home surveillance cameras. While all of those steps are great additions to the overall safety of your residence, it’s important to recognize that your obligation doesn’t necessarily end there. As members of a community, we all need to take responsibility for making sure that not only our homes, but  also those of our neighbors, are being watched over. Though this may sound overbearing at first, establishing a neighborhood watch program can be remarkably beneficial to your community. That said, starting one can be somewhat daunting or confusing from a logistical perspective. Check out these three tips from Protect America for establishing a neighborhood watch in your community.

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Be direct and personal

It’s far too easy, in our increasingly digital world, to hide behind email, text messaging and other indirect forms of communication. When you’re trying to rally a group of people to get behind a cause, though, it’s best to be direct and forthright about your idea. If you’re hoping to establish a neighborhood watch program, it may be worth going door to door to speak to other members of your community about the project. While this can seem like a lot of legwork, you’ll find that individuals are far more responsive when approached in person. Explain to them that you’re hoping to make the community safer by creating an open forum in which everyone can discuss potential problems and work together to resolve them. You may be surprised by how willing people are to look out for one another when asked about it in person.

Consult the proper authorities

According to The National Crime Prevention Council, it’s important to consult with your local police department when establishing a neighborhood watch program. These authorities can offer your organization two important things as it gets off the ground: credibility and expertise. Specifically, people in your community are far more likely to agree to be part of a program if it has an established police force backing it. Part of the logic here is that the precinct will be able to provide you and your neighborhood members with training in proper tactics, methods and knowledge, such as what to watch for. Also, many police departments already have established criteria for civilian crime-watch programs, and they’re more than likely happy to help and advise you as you take on this new venture.

Be inclusive and social

One of the most important steps you can take to ensure the success of your program is to remove any potential limitations or barriers that might limit participation. In order to do this, you’ll need to consider the various needs of your community. For example, if you live in a multilingual area, make sure that any pamphlets or program materials are translated into all necessary languages. Also, when having functions or meetings for the neighborhood watch, budget a half hour or so of social time; people will be more likely to attend these functions if they’re entertaining.