How do you start a Block Watch?

  • By Spokane C.O.P.S.
  • 20 Oct, 2015

This is what you need to know!

Block Watch is one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear. Block Watch fights the isolation that crime both creates and feeds upon. It forges bonds among residents, helps reduce burglaries and robberies, and improves relations between the police and the communities they serve.

Today, community oriented policing allows the C.O.P.S. shops, police and residents to work together to solve issues involving crime and social concerns in their community. Block Watches are one of the original foundations of community policing and are referred to as the eyes and ears of law enforcement. Members look out for neighbors and their property and report suspicious activities to the police.

However, Block Watches are more than looking out for suspicious activity in neighborhoods. Through community mobilization, citizens form an active partnership in the community. Watches allow individuals the opportunity to discover common interests and goals that they share with their neighbors. The residents work to prevent the possibility of crime in their area and develop a sense of community spirit that encourages more activism.

The Benefits of Forming an Active Block Watch

  • Having the fast track to reporting crime and unsafe conditions.
  • Notifications about crime trends and scams in your neighborhood.
  • Being a part of community crime prevention.
  • Education on how to protect yourself and your property.
  • Having the means to stop crime in your neighborhood.

How to Start a Block Watch:

  1. Obtain a Block Watch Representative application from this link or go to your nearest C.O.P.S. shop.
  2. Contact your neighbors. Ask them if they would be interested in meeting. Your needs and interests should fit the uniqueness of your area and your neighbors. Stay flexible (meeting locations, frequency, topics, size, etc.).
  3. Once your application has been approved, a volunteer from your substation will call you to set up a time and place for your first meeting. A Block Watch Coordinator is available to run this meeting.
  4. Notify interested neighbors. Once you and the C.O.P.S. volunteer have decided on a meeting time and place, let your neighbors know. C.O.P.S. volunteers can help develop a flyer for you to distribute, or you can call your neighbors direct.
  5. First meeting. At this time the C.O.P.S. volunteer will help people feel at ease, explain the value of Block Watch, and address particular interests and concerns they have about the neighborhood. This will include filling out the Block Map – a list of names, addresses and phone numbers which are reproduced and distributed to each of the member homes. Topics for future meetings can also be explored.

If you are interested in starting a Block Watch in your neighborhood, contact your nearest C.O.P.S. shop or the Spokane C.O.P.S. main office at 625-3301.

Block Watch Representative Application

Block Watch Representative Handbook 

Spokane C.O.P.S.

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Spokane C.O.P.S. is here with Safe Streets! Safe Streets is a step-by-step approach, channeling all your frustrations into a plan of action utilizing civil courts. Since nuisance houses are defined in the city municipal code, you can effectively take the owner of the house (whether they live there or the house is a rental property) to court for violating this ordinance. A judgment against the owner results in fines paid to affected neighbors.

Safe Streets is a community action guide for the city and county of Spokane that includes community policing tools for helping make your neighborhood safe and nuisance free. Safe Streets motivates individuals to participate at the most fundamental level of the democratic process to create a community that reflects the standards and moral of the residents. It also teaches the community how to maintain those standards. Safe Streets will show you how to recognize nuisance house danger signs,  organize your block, form a team with police and possible city officials, document a public nuisance, research property ownership, and deal with the cooperative and uncooperative property owners. Safe Streets empowers citizens to create a nuisance-free neighborhood that is a safe, clean, and a healthy environment for individuals and families.

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Stop by your neighborhood C.O.P.S. shop for more information.





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Over 7,000 cases of personal property theft have been recorded so far this year (up 4.5% from this time last year). In many of these cases, Spokane police officers are able to recover the stolen property...with no way of identifying the owner. When they can’t find the owner, the items eventually go to auction to free up much needed space in the police evidence facility. This raises an important question-if your property is stolen and recovered by police, would you be able to prove it’s yours?

That’s where Operation ID comes into play. The idea is to mark your valuable possessions with an identifying number (like your driver’s license number). Engraving a number helps deter theft since it’s harder to sell an ID-ed item to a pawn shop. If the item is stolen, the identifying number helps you prove ownership of the item to the police.

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Another property identification program is , a city wide bike registration database. The information uploaded during registration is used by police to connect a recovered bike to its rightful owner. You can bring your bike by your local C.O.P.S. shop and our volunteers will register it for you (and you can get a free child’s helmet while supplies last).

For more crime prevention information, check out our Facebook , Twitter , Linkedin , and Pinterest .
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