Neighborhood Watch/Block Captain Program
Although the Village of River Hill is a very safe community, from time to time there are issues that arise that affect the quality of life for residents. Vandalism, thefts from vehicles, and forced entries are examples of crimes that occur throughout Howard County and occasionally in the village.
Therefore, the community participates in the Neighborhood Watch Program which is a cooperative and collective effort by police and citizens to prevent crime. The program uses positive commonsense methods that aid in preventing crime without endangering any participant or lessening the normal protection offered by the Howard County Police Department. The highlights of this program are:
- Neighbors look out for each other;
- Neighbors become the “eyes and ears” of the police to prevent crime; and
- Enhanced communication and cooperation between the community and the police.
In River Hill, the Village Manager serves as the Neighborhood Watch Coordinator and works with neighborhood Block Captains and the police to proactively fight crime. The Block Captains are residents who volunteer to serve as a liaison between their neighbors, the Coordinator, and the police. Block Captains share crime prevention and safety information with their neighbors and help to educate residents on steps to take to deter crime. Block Captains attend periodic training sessions, may meet occasionally with their neighbors, and help to build a strong community.
To find out if your street has a Block Captain or to volunteer in this capacity, please contact the Village Manager at 410-531-1749 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neighborhood Watch Program Overview
Definition of a Neighborhood Watch Program: A program involving the joint efforts of the police and the community, designed to enhance neighborhood security, heighten the community’s power of observation, and to encourage mutual assistance and concern among neighbors.
What it is NOT: This is NOT Citizen’s on Patrol. The police department does not want residents approaching subjects who are committing crimes, nor do they want residents to try to affect an arrest.
The Objective of the Neighborhood Watch Program is to Reduce Crime by:
- Increasing citizens’ awareness of burglary and other neighborhood crime through a continuing information program e.g., distribution of literature, emails, Police Department Website.
- Training citizens in the means of better property security and assisting them in making their property more secure e.g. Operation ID and Security Surveys by the Police Department.
- Developing a neighborhood action program where neighbors help watch each others property and report suspicious persons and activities to law enforcement agencies.
- Encourage all citizens to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in reporting crime.
- Enlisting participation in Operation ID.
Roles and Responsibilities:
- Neighborhood Coordinator – Coordinates with the Block Captains, recruits residents to the program, acts as a liaison with the Police Department and the Community Association. In the Village of River Hill, the River Hill Village Manager is currently the Neighborhood Coordinator.
- Block Captain – “Point person” for the block/street, contacts neighbors to participate in the program, shares information with neighbors, and coordinates with the Neighborhood Coordinator.
- Block Watcher – Eyes and ears for the neighborhood, report suspicious persons/activity to the Police Department and Block Captain, and check neighbors’ homes when they are out of town. Essentially everyone one who is participating in the program is a Block Watcher.
How to Become a River Hill Block Captain
- Contact the Neighborhood Coordinator:
- Susan M. Smith, River Hill Village Manager, 410-531-1749
- or email Susan at email@example.com.
- Identify the “Block” for which you want to be responsible:
- Provide the Coordinator with a list of the properties to be included in the “Block,” and
- Provide the Coordinator with written acknowledgement for the residents interested in participating. A form to obtain acknowledgement can be obtained from the Neighborhood Coordinator.
- Attend a Block Captain Training Session:
- One-on-one with the Neighborhood Coordinator, or
- Group training session.
- Institute regular communication:
- With your “Block,” and
- With the Neighborhood Coordinator.