This paper proposes the importance of exploring the issue of community involvement in the Neighborhood Watch program. Based on the literature review, the thesis statement is formulated as follows: the participation in the Neighborhood Watch program requires the desire of the community members to assist in creating safer living conditions, reducing fear, and preventing violence. The literature review focuses, inter alia, on such points as the definition of the concept of the Neighborhood Watch program and its goals, community involvement levels, and challenges, technology opportunities that may be used in terms of the program, corrections, and policies. The subsequent section of measurements provides information regarding the research methods to be used, including qualitative and quantitative strategies. Ultimately, some ethical considerations are also identified to ensure the reliability and appropriateness of future research.
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The participation in the Neighborhood Watch program requires the desire to contribute to the creation of safer living conditions, reducing fear, and preventing violence. The collaboration of communities with the police will significantly reduce crime rates in neighborhoods and facilitate trust in law enforcement officers.
RQ. What are the ways to promote collaboration between the residents and the police?
The potential research will be devoted to the investigation of the existing methods that may be used to establish proper and trustful relationships between communities and the police. Based on the revealed data, relevant conclusions will be made and recommendations will be provided.
The continuity in terms of policing will promote the support of the communities. By encouraging and advising residents to protect themselves and their property in a continuous manner, the Neighborhood Program officers are likely to gain their trust and help in crime prevention and early detection. This requires the implementation of several methods to maintain an open dialogue with the members of communities, among which there is a scholarly approach to policing, methodological and practical assistance to the public, partnership, the use of technological advances, and corrections. It is assumed that the mentioned strategies are effective in creating the grounds for collaboration and public loyalty to the police.
Neighborhood Watch Program
The paramount mission of this program is to educate and involve residents and communities in crime prevention through partnership and assistance. This is a free program that proposes the following slogan: hear it – see it – report it. Brogden and Nijhar (2013) define the goals of the program and mention such pints as helping members of communities to protect themselves and their property, preventing crime, improving communication between the police and the residents, and increasing the overall quality of life in neighborhoods. According to the official statistics provided by the U.S. Justice Department, the meta-analysis of 18 research studies revealed that there was a 16 percent reduction of crime on average (Wihbey, 2012). However, the question of what are the factors that facilitate residents’ desire to report about suspicious cases remains unanswered.
Several studies showed that community members might not prefer to report to the police because of their mistrust. Kang (2015) emphasizes the importance of individual and neighbor-related factors. While the latter refers to the attachment of people to their residence and desire to preserve the existing conditions, the former involves the fact that people with higher stability and those living in criminal neighborhoods tend to report more rather than residents living in relatively non-criminal areas. Kappeler and Gaines (2012) note another factor associated with public mistrust that is caused by the lack of integrity between the police and the communities.
The dark side of the Neighborhood Watch program, as argues by Brewer and Grabosky (2014), refers to the existence of the significant “oversight guidance” (p.149). The authors explain that police officer cannot allocate their resources equally to cover all neighborhoods. The inability to provide a laissez-faire approach to collaborating with communities makes the police actions more vulnerable to malicious volunteers. Nevertheless, the authors believe that the increased involvement of the police, policymakers, and communities on the program is likely to provide safe and effective co-production of the residents and law enforcement.
Digital Neighborhood Watch (DNW) is one of the ways to integrate the community residents and engage them in combating crime. Brush, Jung, Mahajan, and Martinez (2013) propose the significance of installing security cameras, which should work together to monitor the streets and note suspicious actions or people. The authors stress that in case of the identification of some suspicious events, the system should automatically notify the police. This solution would create visibility of crime prevention, unite the members of the communities as a result of the collaborative work, and provide the digital evidence of a crime.
The literature review shows no research on corrections regarding the Neighborhood Watch program. Due to the fact that it is based on voluntary participation and the residents’ desire to either enter the program or not, no corrections can be applied in this case. In fact, the residents’ awareness and engagement determine the program’s implementation, maintenance, and the subsequent extent of efficacy.
Policies and Theories
Based on the scholarly approach to the policing theories’ implementation, it is possible to point out a range of issues. The law enforcement officers are to provide continuous transfer of the necessary information to the residents, thus ensuring their awareness and conducting an open dialogue (Banerjee & Baer, 2013). In other words, it is essential to support communication regarding supervision carried out by the members of the Neighborhood Watch program. Patrolling is one of the activities that can be carried out by members of the mentioned program. At this point, the residents may decide when to start activities, depending on the crime situation, while the police will be informed of the schedule of the patrolling activities. It is important to remember that the patrol is not a power structure and does not have to intervene directly at a time when there is a risk to the life and health of participants. An important step in the promotion of the program is to ensure the support of the results obtained.
The Neighborhood Watch program is a powerful tool to engage the residents, neighborhoods, and communities in close collaboration with the police. The research shows the lack of involvement as well as the need to improve it based on proper communication, digital technologies, and policing theories. Informing the members about the measures taken on the territory of the communities, the police are likely to reduce crime rates and promote crime prevention. The literature review reveals the need for further research to answer the research question that was identified earlier in this paper.
Measurements and Analysis Approach
The mixed-method design will be applied to study the topic including both qualitative and quantitative data. To collect and analyze the required data, a range of scholarly resources including books, the recent peer-reviewed journal articles, and official websites will be used. It is expected then that scholarly articles will provide essential grounds to identify tendencies, advantages, and gaps that the current system involves (Creswell, 2013). More to the point, it seems essential to interview several neighborhoods participating in the program as well as those that do not want to do it. Using the method of the questionnaire, it is expected to specify the key factors of residents’ consent or rejection to join the program. It is significant to state that the dissemination of the results of the research is likely to be useful for law enforcement, the communities, and the government. The clear understanding of how to build productive relationships between the mentioned parties would provide a basis for the development and implementation of new communicative strategies and the creation of openness in their collaboration.
Before questioning the participants of the future study, a researcher will clearly state its purpose and the conditions, so that the residents may have the opportunity to ponder over the idea and provide informed consent. No deception of any kind will be used during the research. As for the ethical standards regarding the study, it should be noted that reliability, coherence, and argumentation would be carefully followed to create a high-quality paper. The review of the credible sources along with the thorough analysis of data acquired from the participants would provide the most relevant findings and discussion of the results.
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Banerjee, T., & Baer, W. C. (2013). Beyond the neighborhood unit: Residential environments and public policy (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.
Brewer, R., & Grabosky, P. (2014). The unraveling of public security in the United States: The dark side of police-community co-production. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(1), 139-154.
Brogden, M., & Nijhar, P. (2013). Community policing. New York, NY: Routledge.
Brush, A. J., Jung, J., Mahajan, R., & Martinez, F. (2013). Digital neighborhood watch: Investigating the sharing of camera data amongst neighbors. In Proceedings of the 2013 conference on computer supported cooperative work (pp. 693-700). London, UK: ACM Press.
Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. New York, NY: Sage publications.
Kang, J. H. (2015). Participation in the community social control, the neighborhood watch groups: Individual-and neighborhood-related factors. Crime & Delinquency, 61(2), 188-212.
Kappeler, V. E., & Gaines, L. K. (2012). Community policing: A contemporary perspective (6th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Wihbey, J. (2012). U.S. Justice Department: Does Neighborhood Watch reduce crime? Web.