It is an unfortunate fact of life that it sometimes has to take a tragedy to occur for certain security measures to be put in place. The current system of the Neighborhood Crime Watch Program is a good example.
Conceptually, neighborhood watches have been around since colonial times. In America, the forerunner of the neighborhood watch is the town watch, which itself evolved from the town watchman back in colonial times.
The current system of the neighborhood watch began developing in the late 1960s in New York City, after the brutal murder and rape of Kitty Genovese in 1964. This crime was notorious because it was reported at the time that 38 people witnessed the crime but did nothing about it. Although it was later found out that this report was largely false, the ensuing public outrage over the incident--particularly at the apparent apathy of those perceived witnesses--motivated a number of changes in how crimes were being reported.
Among those changes was a reform to the NYPD telephone reporting system. The once inefficient telephone was revamped. Some local groups also organized neighborhood watch programs and they began to look out for any suspicious activities in their area.
The Neighborhood Crime Watch program soon became a nationally instituted program when the National Sherriff's Association took this crime prevention concept and made it a national initiative. The first two years of the program were devoted to disseminating information and providing information on how to make neighborhoods more secure.
Nowadays, any civic-minded individual can start a neighborhood crime watch. Most police in many major cities have an officer in charge of neighborhood watches, so starting your own group is not that difficult. One just has to remember that a Neighborhood Crime Watch is not a replacement for the police. In other words, you do not engage criminals but rather you alert the police.
When you have your group set up, it is wise to then install the proper neighborhood watch signs in and around your neighborhood. Like other warning signs, a properly installed neighborhood watch sign can help to warn individuals, who are planning to do something less than lawful, to cease and desist.
There are a number of logos and graphics associated with neighborhood watch groups, such as a blue and white representation of an eye or a silhouette of a man in a trench coat and a hat within a "prohibited" circle. Both graphics are an available design for neighborhood crime watch signage.
When considering installing neighborhood crime watch signs in and around your neighborhood, consider signs made from heavy duty rust proof aluminum. Signs made from this material will last you a long time. Besides signs with graphics and standard wordings, there are a number of customizable neighborhood crime watch signs available in the market. These signs feature a crime watch graphic and warning wordings to which you add the name of your town or city.
While the death of Kitty Genovese is indeed tragic, what came out of it--the Neighborhood Crime Watch--shows that people are not really that apathetic when it comes to the security of their neighborhood. It was a hard lesson learned, but an important lesson nonetheless.