5408 Second Street NW,
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87107
Points of Contact:
APD Crime Prevention Office:
ALBUQUERQUE POLICE DEPARTMENT CRIME PREVENTION
HOW TO START A NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH
- You or a neighbor decides to host an initial Neighborhood Watch meeting.
- Whoever is going to host the meeting calls the APD Crime Prevention Office at 244-6644 to provide their name, address and phone number. After making the call, the Crime Prevention Office will send a “starter packet” that will include, among other items, a form to collect information from your neighbors.
- The host or designee goes up and down the block contacting the neighbors and recording their name, address and phone number on the form. (Note: At least 50% of the homes on the block must be represented at the Neighborhood Watch meeting to qualify for sign placement.)
- The host then sends the completed list back to the Crime Prevention Office in the self-addressed envelope provided in the starter packet.
- After the CP Office receives the list from the interested party, a Crime Prevention Specialist will contact the host to set up a date and time for the Neighborhood Watch meeting.
- The CP Specialist will then assist you with invitations for each person whose name appears on the list. Fliers will also be given to the host to be distributed to neighbors as a “last minute” reminder.
- At the meeting, the host provides chairs and simple refreshments.
- The Crime Prevention Specialist will conduct the meeting and towards the end, facilitate the group’s selection of a Block Captain who will function as the neighborhood leader and will serve as a contact person for the Albuquerque Police Department.
- The Block Captain is responsible for contacting new neighbors and for providing updated information to the Crime Prevention Office (Block Captain replacement, etc).
- The block is now organized and may collectively purchase Neighborhoods Organized Against Crime (NOAC) Street Signs. The signs may be ordered (by the Block Captain only) through the Crime Prevention Office. The Block Captain may also join the Albuquerque Block Captains Association (ABCA). The block can also officially participate in the annual National Night Out celebration held the first Tuesday of August each year.
DUTIES OF A BLOCK CAPTAIN
The key person in any Neighborhood Watch group is the Block Captain. This person is an integral component to keeping the block actively involved in crime prevention efforts as well as the important process of information exchange between neighbors. Many Neighborhood Watch groups flourish, but some dwindle while others disappear totally. How successful they are depends on the Block Captain and the support he or she receives from neighbors.
The following is a list of recommended activities for you as a Block Captain. It is not meant to be all-inclusive, because many Block Captains are creative in their approach. (Note: The Albuquerque Block Captains Association [ABCA] is an excellent source of ideas. Any Block Captain is eligible to join.)
- Periodically monitor the membership of your group. Contact new residents to get them involved and to obtain their support and participation. Update your membership list as needed. Contact the APD Crime Prevention office if you have changes to the roster. If you stop serving as a Block Captain and/or if some one 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. This can be through email, telephone tree and/or a one-page notice that can be quickly distributed.
- You are encouraged to 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. People who communicate regularly will care more about each other and be more willing to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior. The annual National Night Out (NNO) celebration is one example that will bring your neighbors together.
- A follow up Neighborhood Watch program should be conducted every few years or sooner if specific problems are occurring in your neighborhood. This should also be the case if you have several new neighbors. Call the Crime Prevention office to arrange for a presentation.
- Encourage neighbors to advise you concerning criminal activity. It is the victim’s responsibility to contact the police. However, 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 simply the person who facilitates the unity of the group, distributes information and coordinates activities. The job you are doing is important and appreciated by the Albuquerque Police Department, but it carries no law enforcement authority.
- Remember – Our recommendation to all citizens who see a crime in progress or notice suspicious activity is to observe and report from a place of safety. We strongly suggest that you not confront an offender unless you are in immediate danger. This applies to you and your neighbors. We do not want anyone to get hurt or injured trying to apprehend an offender or interfering with an incident other than to report the activity to the police. If you or your neighbors witness a crime in progress or observe suspicious behavior, call 911 (emergency) or 242-COPS (non-emergency) respectively. Also, the number for APD reports, records or information pertaining to an incident is 768-2020.