Sentinel Handbook

Tips for security, safety, and crime prevention volunteers

Why Neighborhood Safety Patrols?

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A neighborhood safety patrol is an organized group of volunteers, trained to increase the safety of neighborhoods, as well as be able to help handle some emergency situations. Safety patrols actively seek out and prevent crimes and report incidents to the authorities rather than passively sit back and let others handle these responsibilities. Safety patrols seek to respond in a legal and responsible manner to community concerns and problems in a non-confrontational manner. They work with local police and other community organizations for the betterment of the neighborhood and community.

What do Neighborhood Safety Patrols Accomplish?

  • Prevent crime and other anti-social behaviors through visible deterrence
  • Provide a visible community presence to alleviate neighborhood fears of crime and violence
  • Report disturbances, emergencies, and illegal or suspicious activities
  • Seek out, identify, and report unsafe conditions or hazards to the proper authorities
  • Encourage community participation and interaction

Providing a visible presence within a community discourages criminal and anti-social behaviors. Safety patrols are not “nosy neighbors”, but active community representatives. The presence of a safety patrol sends a clear signal to those who would otherwise wish their activities to remain unobserved and hidden.

Organizing a safety patrol and remaining active lets everyone in the neighborhood know that someone is on the job and looking out for their safety and best interests. Police departments can only afford to put so many officers on the streets, so having a visible safety patrol helps increase feelings of personal and community safety in an area.

Actively patrolling and watching for things out of the ordinary is proactive, not reactive. Disturbances, developing emergency situations, and possible dangerous or criminal activities can be reported quickly so that a more effective response by appropriate personnel can be mounted.

Dangerous chemical spills, washed out roads, and many other unsafe and hazardous conditions can cause serious harm in a neighborhood. Identifying them early and reporting them protects residents from harm and serious injury.

Neighborhoods that work together become closer knit. Neighbors get to know one another and interact. This increases community well-being and sparks civic pride, making neighborhoods more friendly and welcoming to live in.


Written by Silver Sentinel

May 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm

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