Neighborhood Watch is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most well known crime prevention concepts in history. While the modern day concept of Neighborhood Watch came into prominence in the late 1960s in response to an increasing burglary rate, its roots in America can actually be traced all the way back to the days of Colonial settlements when night watchmen patrolled the streets.
Throughout the years, Neighborhood Watch has grown from an "extra eyes and ears" approach to crime prevention to a much more proactive, community-oriented endeavor. Neighborhood Watch groups are now incorporating activities that not only address crime prevention issues, but which also restore pride and unity to a neighborhood. It is not uncommon to see Neighborhood Watch groups participating in neighborhood cleanups and other activities which impact the quality of life for community residents.
The adoption of community policing by local law enforcement agencies has also contributed to the resurgence in watch groups over the years. Neighborhood Watch fits nicely within the framework of law enforcement/community partnerships, and Neighborhood Watch meetings can be a useful forum to discuss neighborhood problems and practice problem-solving techniques.