MPD teaches community how to start a neighborhood watch group

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 10:24 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis Police Department is looking for nosy neighbors to help curb crime.

MPD hosted an online meeting Wednesday night to teach citizens how to form a Neighborhood Watch group.

Remember Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched? The neighborhood busybody who watched everything happening on her street?

MPD said they need more people like Gladys, people who are curious about their surroundings and dedicated to making their neighborhoods safe from crime.

“We have 40 units in the condominium building,” said Memphian Linda Pasier. “Can we become our own legitimate neighborhood watch group?”

“Yes,” answered MPD officer Dominque McCraven. “Condominiums, townhouses, churches, and businesses can be neighborhood watches, and you want to make your neighborhood is unattractive to crime.”

Here’s how to start a Neighborhood Watch, according to MPD:

  • To get started, call your local police precinct and ask to talk with the Neighborhood Watch coordinator. The coordinator will take down your information and let you know what needs to be done to organize the neighborhood watch.
  • You will then need to schedule two informational meetings with officers. During the meetings, the Police Department will review booklets describing how to set up the program in your neighborhood.
  • Following the meetings, your neighborhood will have Neighborhood Watch signs posted in the area by the City of Memphis.

MPD suggests having at least five people to start your group.

”That’s the purpose of building this group,” McCraven said, “so you can increase your eyes and ears, so you won’t only be, as they say, the only nosy neighbor. The whole neighborhood will be looking out for suspicious crime.”

MPD will teach you how to spot and describe suspicious people or activity, which is not as easy as it sounds.  When Zoom participants were asked to describe Officer McCraven off-screen, one participant said she was wearing glasses.

She was not.

But, it was an easy way to show how difficult it can be to remember what suspects or their cars look like.

Two things that Memphis police said will definitely make your neighborhood safer are good lighting and cameras.

“A Ring camera is really good,” McCraven said. “A camera on your home and your neighbor’s home can make a difference.”

On Wednesday, MPD announced Memphis Connect, a program that gives police access to outdoor home and business cameras to help solve crimes faster. 

As with Neighborhood Watch, Memphis Connect is another way citizens and cops are teaming up to shut criminals down.

”Police can’t do this by themselves,” said Memphian Vanessa Delgadillo. “And we can’t do it by ourselves as neighbors. But if we work together, we can build a better, safer City of Memphis.”

The City of Memphis makes $2,500 grants available to Neighborhood Watch groups. 

The application process is lengthy, but they offer assistance in the grant process.

For more information on how to start a Neighborhood Watch group, click here.

For more information on neighborhood crime prevention grants, click here.

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