Division of Police
Neighborhood Block Club Program
Lakewood Neighborhood Block Club is a resident-driven program that helps neighbors work together and work with police and other City departments to ensure safety and security for each person in our community, based on the guiding values of:
||- Protection and Prevention
watching out for and reporting crime or suspicious acts
||- Responsibility and Respect
for ourselves, our neighbors, and property
||- Integrity and Ideals
in our daily lives within the community
to making Lakewood a safer, cleaner, and stronger community
in our civic pride and in our relationships with city safety forces
Neighbors Working Together Can Make a Difference!
"The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbor."
– Vice-President Hubert Humphrey
Crime and fear of crime threaten a community’s well-being – people become afraid to use the streets and parks, properties deteriorate, residents and businesses gradually leave. Although today’s lifestyles tend to make it sometimes difficult to be as neighborly as we would like, being a good neighbor is one of the best methods of preventing crime.
Block Club operates under the community policing principle that preventing crime and improving our City is everyone’s responsibility. It is successful because people want to assume a more active role in their communities and they work together in a partnership with the City to reduce or eliminate the threat of crime and enhance the quality of life for all.
Statistics tell the story. Substantial decreases in crime and fear can be achieved through local neighborhood crime prevention efforts. In fact, it has been shown that neighborhoods with an active Block Club program can reduce incidents of residential burglary by over 50%.
Active involvement and citizen participation in Block Club will:
- Increase personal and property safety in the neighborhood
- Increase awareness and reporting of crime and suspicious activities
- Strengthen cohesiveness and community spirit
- Reduce crime rates and the fear of crime
- Help successfully address property and other neighborhood issues
What is the Neighborhood Block Club?
The Lakewood Neighborhood Block Club program draws upon the members of the community for help in preventing and reducing neighborhood crime, such as burglary, vandalism, drug activity, etc. Actually, it is really just an extension of what you are probably already doing on an informal basis. That is, knowing and watching out for the people that live around you.
Block Club involves only two commitments: A commitment to be concerned about your neighbor’s property as well as your own, and a commitment that when you see suspicious activity, you take action by reporting it, either by calling your neighbor, the police, or both.
Block club is:
- Becoming acquainted with your neighbors.
- Working together to identify and solve problems in your neighborhood.
- Helping the police by being aware of and reporting any unusual activities as they occur. You know best what is “normal” activity in your neighborhood.
- Implementing crime prevention techniques to enhance your home security such as effective outdoor lighting, timers on indoor lights, labeling your property, etc.
- Putting “neighbors” back in neighborhoods!
Block club IS NOT:
- A citizen vigilante force.
- Designed for residents to take personal risks to prevent crime.
- Limited to homeowners. The concept of neighbor watching out for neighbors is just as important for renters, apartment dwellers and business owners as it is for homeowners.
- A guarantee that crime will never occur in your neighborhood.
Block Club does not require you to perform special tasks or go to a lot of meetings. You do not have to patrol the neighborhood or chase burglars. It just requires you to be more alert as part of your everyday life. For example, when you go to the windows to open or close the drapes, instead of just doing that and turning away, stop for a second and glance around the neighborhood. When you get in your car and pull out of your driveway, do the same. It’s this kind of watchfulness that makes a block club successful.
Block Club doesn’t require you to give up your privacy or impose upon your neighbor’s privacy. All it requires of you and your neighbors is to be familiar enough with each other to know who belongs in your neighborhood and who doesn’t, which cars are a part of the neighborhood and which are not, and when something suspicious is going on.
Keep in mind that the Club concept is adaptable. There can be park clubs, apartment clubs, boat clubs, school clubs, business clubs, etc. A club can be organized around any geographic unit.
Getting Started: Meetings, Block captains and Materials
- Download the forms and handout materials from this website.
- Form a small planning group to discuss needs, neighborhood interest, possible challenges and the block watch concept.
- Select a date and a place for a meeting of neighbors.
- Contact Lakewood Police Department, Crime Prevention Division, to request an officer to attend your meeting. He will make a presentation and answer any questions that residents have.
- Publicize the meeting at least one week in advance to your neighborhood by distributing flyers, making phone calls, etc.
- At your meeting, gather neighbors’ contact information (names, addresses, phone numbers, email, etc.).
- Elect a chairperson (this usually ends up being the person who organized the meeting, but it does not have to be).
- Request two or three volunteers to act as block captains. Block captains relay information to neighbors, keep current information on residents, act as liaisons between the neighborhood and police.
- Establish a regular means of communicating with Block Club members such as a newsletter, phone tree, email chain, etc.
- Prepare a neighborhood map showing names, addresses, phone numbers, email information of participating households and distribute to them.
- Contact new neighbors about the program when they move into the neighborhood and invite them to participate.
Tips for Success
- Hold regular meetings to help residents get to know each other and to decide upon program strategies and activities. We encourage Block Club groups to meet at least quarterly, either on a formal or informal basis, to renew acquaintance, update the block map, share information, select a new captain if necessary, etc.
Let your meeting address the issue you are interested in, such as:
- General meeting: this is a “maintenance” meeting to refresh everyone on the program and any neighborhood happenings.
- Problem meeting: If there is a problem on your block (street lighting, vacant house, traffic problems, etc.) neighbors may want to get together to discuss solutions. You may want to invite speakers from public or private agencies to provide information or assistance. You can also use this type of meeting to discuss neighborhood improvement projects, etc.
- Agency meeting: You can learn about city agencies and programs to help residents and the neighborhood.
- Community meeting: Often there are issues that impact not just your neighborhood but the surrounding streets as well. You can meet with other Block Club groups to discuss their experiences as well as any current issues.
- Annual night out: Block parties or other “fun” neighborhood gatherings, where neighbors show their active involvement by turning on their porch lights early in the evening and getting together.
- Get new neighbors involved or regularly “re-invite” any non participating neighbors to join.
- Involve everyone - the elderly, kids, renters, homeowner, single, married, etc.
- Interact with the police department. The Police Department is a major source of information on local crime patterns, home security, crime reporting and other crime prevention education. They can provide you with, upon request, a weekly report on crime specific to your street, so that you can update your neighbors on any problems, decrease in crime, trends, etc.
- Get any information out quickly. Share news, squash rumors.
- Engage the help of other city agencies that can help. Physical conditions such as abandoned cars, rundown homes and overgrown lots contribute to crime. Report these conditions to the appropriate city department, sponsor cleanups and encourage neighbors to turn on outdoor lights at night.