Neighborhood Watch Program
A neighborhood of people who know each other, as well as the typical behaviors and happenings that take place on their block, are better able to identify and report unusual activities to law enforcement. The Neighborhood Watch framework is a program created, run, and maintained by the residents to reduce crime by looking out for one another.
Through a partnership with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and the Town, residents can advance the security of their own neighborhood by establishing a Neighborhood Watch group.
The structure of Neighborhood Watch is as follows: Households in close proximity to one another form into groups with their neighbors and then receive an orientation from the Sheriff’s Office. During the orientation which takes place either in a home of the Neighborhood Group or designated location, a law enforcement officer educates the group on the Neighborhood Watch framework. At the end of the workshop, the group agrees to look out for one another, and the group may request that the Town install Neighborhood Watch signs on their streets to deter crime.
Goals of the Neighborhood Watch Orientation include:
- History of the Neighborhood Watch framework
- Establishing common goals for the program
- Education on security and safety topics
- How neighbors can get involved
- Instructions on how to identify suspicious activities
- Question and answer opportunity
Steps on Community Engagement
To help support the growth of this program in the Town, the following steps can be used to engage the public:
- A Town-wide advertisement. Town staff will advertise open enrollment of the Los Altos Hills Neighborhood Watch program through a Town-wide mailer and post information on all forms of social media (Nextdoor, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Gauge interest. Residents in close proximity to one another will talk amongst themselves and gauge whether there is enough interest in the forming a Neighborhood Group
- Pick a Neighborhood Group Leader. Once a prospective group of residents is formed, the group will establish a leader/ co-leader to act as a liaison between the neighborhood, the Town, and the Sheriff’s Office.
- Establish Neighborhood Groups.The residents will talk amongst themselves to determine:
- The exact boundaries of the group. Boundaries of one Town-initiated Neighborhood Group may not overlap with another group. An online map will be made available on the Town’s website for the residents to use to determine the shape and size of existing groups
- Collect names of group members. Group members will fill out a Registration Signature Form and submit it to the Town.
- Register the Neighborhood Group: The Neighborhood Group Leader will contact the Town to record the items listed above. A dedicated member of Town staff will work with the Neighborhood Group Leaders to help set up an orientation workshop.
- Hold the first meeting & orientation. The Neighborhood Groups will complete the orientation. At the end of the orientation, the Neighborhood Watch Group will be active, and the group can contact the Town to install Neighborhood Watch street signs at no cost to the group.
- Stay active: In order to maintain an “active” status with the Town each Neighborhood Group will be required to hold at least one gathering per year. Neighborhood groups will submit documentation to the Town when meetings take place to ensure active status.
To support the growth of the Los Altos Hills Neighborhood Watch Program to more neighborhoods, each Neighborhood Watch Group be eligible to receive one annual reimbursement from the Town for up to $400 for purchases made towards group creation and retention.
Reimbursements would be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, and would be available until funding for reimbursements run out. Neighborhood groups will need to maintain an active status to be eligible for reimbursement.
Eligible reimbursement purchases include (but not limited to):
- Flyers/ advertisements for Neighborhood Group meetings
- Supplies for meetings
- Food for meetings
- Emergency supplies
- Address posts
- Informational materials
- License plate reading cameras for neighborhoods