Here’s the right way to start a Neighborhood Watch group

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DENVER -- Neighborhood Watch groups allow residents to take back their streets by watching out for one another and keeping a close eye out for criminal activity.

Denver Police tell FOX31 crime is down as much as 80 percent in some areas thanks to increased community involvement.

Residents interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch group should follow the proper guidelines.

Officer Robert Gibbs says residents should first visit the police department's web page, which features information about how to start a group.

He adds that once members become registered, they should report any suspicious activity.

Gibbs says the Neighborhood Watch sign sends a clear message to criminals, "They'll be watched, if there's a neighbor that happens to be home instead of basically ignoring the activity they're observing ... they'll actually call the police."

It is also important for Neighborhood Watch organizers to respect the privacy of it's members.

One Denver resident who preferred to remain unidentified tells FOX31 someone on her street taped flyers on random doors displaying the names and addresses of those signing up for the group.

She says, "I am angry I feel violated and I feel endangered."

Gibbs explains that personal information should never be distributed, only police can keep a record, "That's not the actual way it's organized at all,  the information is not distributed publicly."

Gibbs also emphasizes that no one should decide to take the law into their own hands, or conduct armed patrols. "That's what we get paid for."

For more information about Neighborhood Watch Program visit the Denver police website.

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