How Does Block Watch Work?
Block Watch is a program of neighbours helping neighbours. The Block Watch Program is a free community-based crime prevention program administered by your local police. Residents on a street or in a complex form a communication chain, aided by a block map of names, telephone numbers, and addresses. They make a commitment to watch out for each other’s homes, and report suspicious activities to the police and to each other. They also keep each other informed about neighbourhood occurrences, burglary, thefts, and other crimes or problems occurring on their street.
Frequently asked questions
How much time does being a participant take?
It really only takes seconds to look up and down your street, alley or at the school or park.
What is the primary function of the Block Captain?
The primary function is to set up communication between neighbours and serve as the link between Block Watch participants and the Block Watch office. The Block Watch Captain or Co-Captain is not responsible to keep crime off the block, to patrol the area or be responsible for everyone's house keys when they are on vacation.
What are my responsibilities as a Captain or Co-Captain?
Serving as a Captain is not time consuming and you do not have to be home at all times to volunteer. Captain and Co-Captain don't have to perform all their duties alone.
What if I can't be a Captain or Co-Captain anymore?
Please find someone on your block that would like to take over the position. Once you have, please contact Anne Russell or Alejandra Johnson with the updated information: new contact name, number, address, and email address.
What does Block Watch Provide?
General home security tips
Tips to prevent theft from or of motor vehicles, RV’s, etc.
Personal Safety tips
Block Watch window stickers
Block Watch street signs
Newsletters to keep you informed of current crime trends, home security, Block Watch events, and much, much more!
How to properly recognize and report crime and suspicious activity to the police
In most incidents, a general reduction in crime
Continued Police partnership
A greater sense of safety among residents
A coordinator and / or police officer to attend your first meeting
Some insurance companies will give a discount on home insurance
How Can I Get Involved?
Contact West Vancouver Police to see if there is a Block Watch in your area.
If your street does not have an active Block Watch, someone must volunteer to become the Block Captain and enlist the help of Co-Captain(s). All Captains and Co-Captains must be approved by the police. This merely involves the completion of an application form.
Responsibilities of the Block Captain / Co-Captain
- Complete an application form
- Attend training/information session provided by your local police/block watch office.
- Canvass neighbors to explain the program and encourage participation
- Maintain an accurate list and map of all participants and provide an updated copy to your local police/block watch office annually.
- Ensure that yearly neighborhood meetings are held.
- Act as a liaison between the police department and block watch participants by providing important crime information to participants when required
- Set a good example by initiating home security and target hardening measure in his/her own home.
- Distribute the Block Watch Newsletter.
- Welcome new residents by explaining the Block Watch Program and encouraging participation.
Ideas on how to keep your block active
- Organize regular meetings that focus on current issues i.e. grow ops, youth and alcohol, theft from autos etc.
- Adopt a park, playground or street. Pick up litter, paint over graffiti etc
- Don’t forget social events that give neighbors a chance to know each other: A block party, potluck dinner, volley ball or soft ball game, picnic, food drive for the food bank etc.
Responsibilities of the Block Watch Participant
- Watch out for their neighbour and their neighbour’s property
- Notify police of any suspicious activity or crime in progress
- Report if they have been a victim of crime
- Notify their Block Captain if they have been a victim of a break and enter or other criminal/suspicious activity
- Update security and hardware in their homes
- Mark all valuables with their driver’s license number
- After participants have marked & catalogued their property they will be given Block Watch Decals by the Captain
- Attend yearly Block Watch meetings in their neighborhood
What do Block Watch Members Look For – Suspicious Activity
- Someone screaming or shouting for help
- Sounds of breaking glass or shattering wood
- Unusual noises
- Beam from flashlight or light in neighbor’s home
- Persons going door to door
- Someone looking into windows of parked cars
- Persons waiting in front of a home or loitering around the neighborhood
- A stranger in the back yard
- Property being taken out of houses where no one is at home or a business after it has closed
- Property being carried by persons on foot
- Property being loaded into a vehicle or being removed from a vehicle
- An opened or forced door or window
- Strange vehicles parked at your neighbor’s house
- Slow moving vehicles cruising the block
- Someone being forced into a vehicle
- A stranger sitting in a car or stopping to talk to a child
- Abandoned cars
Can apartment buildings be part of Block Watch?
Of course! The building is treated like a block. There is a Captain and Co-Captain and they fan out information to the people that would like to be part of Block Watch.
Remember if you see a situation that doesn’t feel right, it’s suspicious. Write down the description of any suspicious persons. Get the model, color and licence numbers of strange vehicles. Call the police immediately. Don’t assume someone else has called. If criminal activity has occurred let your Block Watch Captain and neighbors know but CALL THE POLICE FIRST.