Neighborhood Watch is a community action program in which neighbors come together to resolve problems in their neighborhood by forming community relationships and working closely with their local law enforcement agency.
The Police Department serves as one of many community resources, and program success requires a sustained community effort, in which residents help prevent crime in their neighborhoods by working as a team.
Neighborhood Watch Meeting
The meeting is held on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 1830 hours at the Library Community Room next to OPD front lobby. This is an opportunity for Oceanside Neighborhood Watch groups to come together and assist one another with resolving neighborhood issues, there are important speakers who attend the meetings, and it is a meeting where citizens interested in starting a new Neighborhood Watch group can obtain information and get started. Additionally, the Neighborhood Policing Team officers attend the meeting along with Crime Prevention in order to provide resources and problem solving.
Neighborhood Watch Start-Up Checklist
- Contact the Oceanside Police Department Crime Prevention Unit at 435-4543 for assistance.
- Define your Neighborhood Watch Blocks. Each block should consist of a group of about 12 to 20 homes that surround each block captain’s home. This will vary, depending on the size and layout of each community.
- Select a Block Captain for each block. The person who volunteers to be the Block Captain will lead the group activities and act as the group’s liaison with the Police Department.
- Each Block Captain takes over from this point. The first duty of a Block Captain is to meet each resident in their block. The purpose is to share information about the Neighborhood Watch Program and gain the resident’s support and participation in the program.
- Consult the neighbors to see what day would be best for them to participate in a meeting, and to discuss issues that they may need to resolve as a community.
- Schedule the first Neighborhood Watch meeting and call the Police Department’s Crime Prevention Specialists at 435-4543 to inform them of your meeting.
- Tell the residents about the meeting date. The Crime Prevention Specialist will provide meeting invitations which the Block Captain can copy and disseminate to the residents. Send a reminder after the initial invitation.
- Before the meeting, draw a map of the neighborhood block, which includes all the houses on the block even if they do not participate. Write on each house the name, address, and phone number of all block participants. Make a copy of the map to hand out to each block participant at the first meeting and to provide to the Crime Prevention Unit.
Primary Duties of a Block Captain
The following is a list of recommended activities for Block Captains; it is not meant to be all-inclusive, because many Block Captains are creative in their approach. The job of Block Captains is important and greatly appreciated by the Oceanside Police Department.
- Attend monthly Block Captains’ Meetings – every 4th Tuesday of the month.
- Periodically monitor the membership of your group. Contact new residents to get them involved and to obtain their support and participation. If you stop serving as a Block Captain and/or if someone else takes over, contact our office.
- Develop a neighborhood communication system to distribute vital information to neighbors pertaining to criminal activity and other concerns that develop in the area.
- Arrange for your group to meet socially at least twice per year to exchange information and renew relationships as well as to get acquainted with new neighbors.
- A follow-up Neighborhood Watch meeting should be held on a regular basis to address any problems occurring in your neighborhood or simply to update information.
- Encourage neighbors to advise you concerning criminal activity. You can keep a record of break-ins, vandalism, graffiti, and/or any activity that becomes a concern for you and your neighbors. Provide this type of information to neighbors at your next block meeting.
- Your position as a Block Captain does not give you any law enforcement authority. You are the person who facilitates the unity of the group, disseminates information, and coordinates activities.
Tips on preventing crime in your neighborhood using your Neighborhood Watch program:
- Share Crime Prevention Tips: Discuss ways to improve home and personal safety with your neighbors. Share your schedules.
- Recruit "silent observers": Senior citizens and shut-ins can help by watching for and reporting suspicious activities.
- Organize Your Neighborhood: Contact the Crime Prevention Office for advice and training at 760-435-4543.