Monday, June 9, 2008

How to Start a Block Watch Program

Some of the following information contains excerpts from the National Neighborhood Watch Institute's booklet, How to Start (and Maintain a Healthy) Neighborhood Watch Program, which is available to order through their website,, or by calling 888-NNWI-USA (888-669-4872). They also sell booklets to hand out to new block watch members. As these booklets are not free of charge (most of their booklets are $3 each), you may want to ask your HOA (if you have one) to order them for you. Many HOA's are helpful and supportive. If you do not have an HOA, you may want to consult with your neighbors and take donations to fund this endeavor.

1. Ideally, you will not be alone in running your neighborhood's block watch program. However, this seems to be how most of us operate, so we know it can be done! If you have neighbors interested in helping you, by all means, accept whatever help they're willing to give, whether it be organizing meeting topics/times/dates, or helping post fliers around your community. Ask some neighbors whom you know if they would be willing to help you start a block watch in your neighborhood.

2. Plan a date, time, and place for your first meeting. Most schools are willing to let you use their gym or cafeteria--just check with them by contacting the school secretary who will put you in contact with their coordinator. Make sure you start coordinating your schedule a couple weeks before your planned meeting date.

3. Contact Sgt. Stormee Wallace at the Pinal County Sheriff's Office (PCSO); she is the block watch coordinator. She or one of her officers will be able to attend many of your meetings to provide home security tips and other valuable information. Her phone number is listed on the side bar of this page. Your first meeting will usually consist of how to run your block watch, perhaps home security tips, and usually a question and answer session with the officer(s).

4. Publicize your block watch meeting by posting fliers on your community mailboxes or any other permissible areas. If your HOA sends out newsletters, you may ask them to announce your meeting there. Some communities have posted 1/4 sheet fliers on each door of their community, but that is a huge task! Don't feel you have to do that. A large, bright sign at the corners or at each entrance to your community should do the trick. It can be as simple as taping bright card stock to a large empty box. Make sure your lettering is large enough to be seen from a car. Place it a couple days before the scheduled meeting.

5. At your first meeting, you may want to have light refreshments on hand: bottled water, cookies, etc. Again, your HOA may provide funds for these items, or may be willing to reimburse you afterward if you provide a receipt. If you have no HOA, you may want to ask for donations for the following meetings. Some block watches even have community potlucks--lots of fun and a great way to mingle and get to know your neighbors!

6. Have a sign-up sheet for email addresses. Email is a great way to keep in touch with members of your community. You can send out meeting information, tips, warnings about crime or other happenings.

7. Don't get discouraged if you don't have the turnout you hoped for. Some people show up only when they have been affected by crime. Others show up for each meeting. Know that you are doing a great thing for your community, so don't give up!

8. Here is a list of suggested meeting topics:
  • Home and personal safety
  • Child safety/bicycle safety
  • Self defense
  • Gangs/drugs/graffiti
  • Fire prevention
  • Auto safety/engraving
  • Vacation precautions
  • Safety for Seniors
  • Identity/fraud protection
  • CPR/first aid
  • Witness/observation skills

9. Be sure to ask for volunteers to help with future meetings; get their names, numbers, and email addresses!

10. Ask for help if you need it; there will be much valuable advise posted on this blog, but if you have a question you can't find an answer for, please do not hesitate to ask.

Friday, June 6, 2008


This listing is a compilation of useful agencies and officials in the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) that can help facilitate starting a Block Watch Program in your area.

If you’ve got the initiative, drive and commitment to community to start a Block Watch, we’ve got the tools to make it easier.

The Community Block Watch Association of the Greater San Tan Area is a group of established Block Watches already operating in the sub-divisions of the Greater San Tan Area. Those sub-divisions are San Tan Heights, Johnson Ranch, Castlegate, Pecan Creek and Ladera Ranch.

As individual groups we all started with the common idea of making our particular community safer and more connected. Then came the hard part. How? Well, we learned how. It took time, education, knocking on doors, education, talking to people in parks, education. Get the picture?

The Community Block Watch Association is here to help you make your experience starting a Block Watch as easy as possible. We’ve all discovered new ways to make our communities safer. And what we’ve done is taken everyone’s good ideas and put them in one place.

In closing, remember that the established Block Watches in the Greater San Tan Area can help whenever you have a question.

Thank you for taking the time to visit this site and investigate!