Neighborhood Watch Unit

Neighborhood Watch (NW) is built on a philosophy that the residents of this wonderful city have the power to change neighborhoods block-by-block and street-by-street. NW works with residents on issues related to crime and safety.  Groups also take a broad approach focusing  on what it means to be a good neighbor, what makes for a more habitable neighborhood and what the power of people coming together can mean to the City. Working together, neighbors can create a safer place to live by getting to know each other and getting involved.

Launched in 1985, NW has helped hundreds of watch groups get started and remains an important source of ongoing support. NW groups work in conjunction with the Boston Police Department to deter crime and reduce fear. The BPD NW Unit is committed to continuing our mission to develop and maintain crime watch groups in every neighborhood in Boston.

We strive to provide the skills and tools necessary to create and maintain organized and empowered teams that work with the police to deter crime and reduce fear. We also help groups to network with nearby or affiliated groups and City departments in order to enhance coordination and collaboration.

Many active NW groups hold meetings throughout the City of Boston. To find out about one near you or to learn more information in general, please contact our office at (617) 343-4345 or meetinginfo.bpd@cityofboston.gov.

Starting a Group

Starting a NW group is a proactive measure to become more connected and better protected! Here is how you can establish a group:

  • Call the BPD Neighborhood Watch Unit at (617) 343-4345, fill out our online form, or email us at meetinginfo.bpd@cityofboston.gov.
  • Assemble a group of interested neighbors. No group is too small!
  • Choose a convenient location, date, and time for your meeting.
  • Canvas your neighborhood and distribute a meeting notification to your neighbors.
  • Identify specific crime issues to discuss.
  • Give the meeting particulars to the NW Unit so that they can coordinate with your local BPD district station.
  • Gather, discuss, plan, and grow, and begin to see the remarkable changes to your neighborhood/block/building when people come together and share their concerns!

FAQ

What’s involved in running a Neighborhood Watch?
The best way to run a Neighborhood Watch is to delegate tasks and keep your neighbors involved. Tasks include: taking minutes, emailing and calling members prior to meetings, and greeting new neighbors as they move to your street. The more time that you spend outside with your neighbors, the more your positive activity will displace negative activity. This will deter both crime and fear of crime while building a sense of community at the same time.

How do I find updated public safety information and crime stats?
You can find public safety information and crime stats on BPDnews.com’s crime stats page, on the BPD’s Facebook and Twitter pages, or on crimereports.com.

How many people are required to start a Neighborhood Watch? 
NW does not require a certain number of people to start a group. Any number of interested and active neighbors can make positive changes to their neighborhood by getting involved. We have met with groups compromised of only a few people and with groups comprised of many more.

How frequently do groups meet?
We suggest meeting a minimum of five times per year. Most groups meet monthly or bimonthly, and they usually plan one or two neighborhood social events annually, such as block parties. What matters most is that group members communicate with each other and with the police.

What if we don’t have any crime issues? Should we still start a Neighborhood Watch?
Yes! Do not wait for something to happen that requires a response. Instead, be prepared as a neighborhood and know how to respond. There are always issues in any neighborhood that can benefit from the attention of astute and involved residents.