How to set up Neighbourhood Watch

Determine the level of interest, a public meeting, and registration of members. Your local Community Police Centre (CPC) will provide support for this process (all literature, advice and presentations, except the formation and management of a watch, which must be primarily a community initiative).

Each Watch must have a Coordinator to serve as a point of contact and as an information conduit between watch members and the CPC. The Coordinator, assisted by a team of Block Captains, also maintains an up-to-date list of members and encourages new neighbours to join the watch.

  1. The first step in the process of watch formation would involve a canvass of your neighbourhood to determine the level of interest and what boundaries for size of Watch.
  2.  Public meeting  (If the person of interest would like to have one for all the neighbours of the street or area) could be held at the CPC.
  3. The person that would like to have a Watch would usually be the Coordinator.
  4. The coordinator and some of the neighbours would start to canvas the street to have a Neighbourhood Watch.

Too canvas the neighbours the literature required is;

  1. List for recording names and information
  2. Letter of introduction
  3. Neighbourhood Watch Registration Form
  4. Neighbourhood Watch pamphlet (How to Get Involved)

80% is ideally required for a Neighbourhood Watch but 50% is accepted.

After the Watch has been set up another Neighbourhood Watch pamphlet (Neighbourhood Watch: Member Guide) is passed out along with a Neighbourhood Watch decal to be placed usually at or on the front door.

Then a request is sent in for the installation of the Neighbourhood Watch sign or signs for the street or area.


Watch Members
Watch members are the backbone of the Neighbourhood Watch program. Your duty  is to look after your own best interests and  those of your family and neighbours.
Responsibilities include:

  • availing yourself to the information and services provided through the program;
  • remaining alert to the occurrence of any suspicious activity and reporting it promptly to the police, then to your Coordinator or designate;
  • maintaining a satisfactory standard of security in your own home;
  • looking after near-neighbours’ homes or property during their absence, if requested to do so;
  • attending any general meetings of the Watch; and
  • being a good neighbour — the kind you would like to have living next door to you.

Block Captains
The Block Captain is principally responsible for monitoring a set of approximately ten homes within a Watch.
Duties include:

  • welcoming new neighbours, informing them about the program and inviting them to join;
  • setting an example by adopting appropriate home security measures, and being a good neighbour;
  • maintaining an accurate list of members in his or her area of jurisdiction and advising the Coordinator of any changes;
  • reporting incidents of crime or attempted crime to the Coordinator after ensuring the police have been advised;
  • inform residents of break and enters or other threatening activities that have occurred in the area;
  • appoint assistant/alternate to take over during absences;
  • distribute information pertaining to the Neighbourhood Watch program; and communicating the views of Watch members to Coordinators during Watch meetings.

Watch Coordinators
The Coordinator is principally responsible for the entire Watch, and serves as the Watch’s contact with the Police Service — primarily through the local Community Police Centre (CPC).
Duties include:

  • attending coordinators meetings;
  • organizing general Watch meetings and meeting regularly with Block Captains;
  • promoting Neighbourhood Watch at other community events;
  • recruiting Watch members and Block Captains;
  • initiating Ottawa Police Service Auto-Dialer (OPSAD) messages for the Watch;
  • disseminating information to Block Captains; and
  • arranging for Watch signage.