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Bridgeport In The Know

How To Start A Block Watch
in Your Bridgeport Neighborhood

A Block Watch is a neighborhood based crime prevention program designed to reduce crime in residential areas. The Bridgeport Police promote the program and assist any community residents who want to start a Block Watch in their neighborhood. It is one of the best ways to involve citizens in preventing crime.  Citizens become involved by watching their neighborhoods and reporting suspicious activities. Block watches are organized and individualized for various neighborhoods. These watches can be effectively used for apartment buildings, businesses, or single- and multi-family neighborhoods. Most block watch programs do not involve any kind of patrol.

Block Watch is a neighbors-helping-neighbors program which takes very little time, and no money. The concept is simple: neighbors actively keep watch for suspicious activity and crime on their street and always report everything to the police and also to their block watch coordinator. The coordinator then alerts all the registered block watchers so they can be aware of crime trends.

How to Get Started:

1.  Ask your neighbors if they want to start a Block Watch. Organize a core group of at least five people in your neighborhood. Decide how large you want your Block Watch neighborhood to be. The decision is yours: 5 blocks, 10 blocks, your whole neighborhood area.  You can always expand later.

2.  Plan the initial meeting, where and what night of the week is best for your neighbors to meet to learn about Block Watch techniques. Set up an agenda and an action plan.

3.  Contact the Community Services Division of the Bridgeport Police Department, 203-576-8278,  stating you want to start a Block Watch. Tell him the number of people involved & the tentative place, date and time of your first meeting. A police officer will come to your meeting and assist you in formulating your block watch. They will discuss the principles of Block Watch, and crime watch techniques.

4.  At your initial meeting, set the date for your next meeting.  Monthly meetings are a good idea. The police department will send a representative who knows your area to attend your meetings so that you can continue to discuss concerns.  It is often a good idea to set-aside a portion of your meeting without police representation so that you can discuss internal concerns and agendas.

5.  Build your block watch: develop a flyer and go door to door or contact neighbors by email or social media. Determine the method for block watch notifications, email, phone, social media, etc.

6. Get to know your neighbors. At least once per year have a neighborhood get together and meeting. It could be a pot-luck with an open forum to discuss crime concerns.  A Community Services officer can provide a Home Security presentation to the group on ways to improve security and give out information.

For more information about the Neighborhood Block Watch Program in Bridgeport, call the Community Services Division of the Bridgeport Police Dept. at 203-576-8278. For more information about crime and safety in Bridgeport, click here.