Form a Neighborhood Watch Group on your Sunnyside block
By James McCormick, Brian Marabello, and Tracey McCormick
What is a Neighborhood Watch Group? Why does my block need one? How can I set one up and use it to help my neighbors?
A Neighborhood Watch Group (NWG) is a a group of residents who have formally organized to work on making their block not only safer and better prepared for emergencies, but also more connected and sociable, too. NWGs may include a single block or a larger area, such as side streets and adjoining blocks. NWGs are a part of the Neighborhood Watch Program managed by SF SAFE — a non-profit that’s been focused on crime prevention and public safety for San Francisco neighborhoods since 1976. Currently, SF SAFE supports over 1,800 active NWGs.
Some of the benefits that an NWG offers to your block, beyond crime deterrence and emergency preparedness, include opportunities to meet and get to know your neighbors, or to forge stronger connections with those you already do know. A NWG is also an opportunity to welcome new neighbors and to introduce them to other neighbors on your block. Additionally, information voluntarily provided to a NWG will allow you and your neighbors to communicate more effectively about issues and news that affects everyone on your block, such as reporting a car burglary, damage to property, or to inquire about a neighbor’s well-being. Recently, having a Sunnyside NWG enabled a neighbor to report to another neighbor that their light well drain was clogged and flooding. In another instance, a neighbor alerted their neighbor that their car had a flat tire.
NWGs also provide a mechanism for block problem-solving, such as sharing concerns or requests for improvements on your block, which serves to coordinate your ideas and work more effectively with city departments to address issues and find solutions, e.g. adding a stop sign or speed humps, improving lighting, coordinating storm drain patrols, or making requests for restricted parking. Moreover, you and your neighbors will be more prepared — and able to help each other — in the event of emergencies, such as long power outages or something more serious like an earthquake. A NWG will help you communicate in such situations, and check in on each other to offer or ask for help.
And, of course, neighbors value and appreciate most the fact that NWG signs alert potential wrongdoers that the neighbors are connected and watching out for each other and their property.Continue reading “Safety and Community: Neighborhood Watch for your Sunnyside block”