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How to Start a Neighbourhood Watch

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Neighbourhood watch schemes have become increasingly popular for residential neighbourhoods. But for these associations to be effective, it is important to keep some things in mind.

Fidelity ADT runs community security schemes around the country – use our advice on starting a neighbourhood watch.

The Importance of Structure

A key part of any neighbourhood watch is communication. That’s why it’s useful to put in place some basic structures:

  • Choose someone who has time and enthusiasm to champion your cause. It’ll be their job to keep things running smoothly
  • Build a database of residents who are part of the scheme, to aid communication and co-ordination
  • Put together a constitution to outline your purpose and conduct

These steps not only help maintain communication, but direct the purpose of your neighbourhood watch.

Talk to the Authorities

A neighbourhood watch shouldn’t exist in isolation. Get in contact with your local SAPS, and any armed response services in the area.

Your database of members and your constitution will allow you to register with the local Community Police Forum.

Linking your neighbourhood watch with a service like Fidelity ADT armed response will give you an extra degree of backup if it’s needed. Services like the Fidelity ADT FindU app are particularly useful here, as they give watch members a way to call backup very quickly indeed.

Be Visible

Once you’ve got all your structures in place, start doing patrols. The impact of visible patrols by neighbourhood watch members is the most effective deterrent in their arsenal, so use your database to set these up as soon as possible.

Each patrol should consist of a minimum of 2 people. If you’ve got good participation in your neighbourhood, patrols can mean residents spend as little as 3 or 4 hours a month patrolling. The more people you have, the easier the job.

In order to make your patrols effective, you’ll need to have “patrol kits” that can be swopped between cars at a pre-set location (like the local garage). Each kit should contain, at a minimum:

  • A log book for recording the details of any suspicious activity
  • A clip board
  • Pepper spray
  • A first aid kit

A neighbourhood watch is a powerful tool if used correctly. It acts as a truly effective deterrent to criminals. But always remember: organisation is key.


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