Block Watch is all about neighbours helping neighbours. Households, apartments or condominiums on a block form a communication chain aided by a map of names, telephone numbers and addresses. Participants watch out for each others’ homes and report suspicious activities to the police and each other. This communication is crucial in reducing the likelihood of residential crime.
The Vancouver Block Watch program started in 1989, and is managed and maintained by a civilian coordinator and a police officer. The program currently has over 600 participating groups, including 1,100 captains and co-captains, monitoring the individual neighbourhood Block Watch programs. Including all of the participating households that each team has recruited, that’s an additional 15,600 extra pairs of trained eyes and ears reporting suspicious activity!
Getting to know your neighbours by bringing them together is one of the basics of a successful Block Watch group. Creating opportunities to meet can be done in creative ways.
Resources For Your Block Watch Block Party
Request A Police Squad To Attend Your Block Party
If you are requesting a police squad to attend your block party please contact, BlockWatch@vpd.ca.
City Of Vancouver Barricades, Permits & Neighbour Sign Off
Community Policing Centres (CPCS)
CPCs offer services unique to their individual societies and neighbourhoods within their designated boundaries. Contact your local CPC and find out what community services are available for your event. Some support can include: an event information booth, a presentation from a Neighbourhood Police Officer (NPO), volunteer activities like street hockey and crime prevention handouts and Child Find.
Link to all CPC websites: http://vancouver.ca/police/crime-prevention/index.html
Crime Stoppers can provide an event booth, a speaker for regular talks to community volunteers, information and/or articles for newsletters, Crime Stopper information. For more information call 604-717-2585. http://www.solvecrime.ca/
The City of Vancouver offers a workshop for community groups and will customize a free emergency safety workshop for community groups of 15 people or more. Click HERE for more information.
Some Ideas For Your Block Party
- Do an internet search for ideas to include in your block party
- Set up a Block Watch table; ask us for some Block Watch signage, giveaways and crime prevention handouts. Have someone at the table or booth to talk about the program and update your map and collect e-mail addresses. Expand your Block Watch or invite people to start new Block Watches surrounding yours – that will help keep your neighbourhood even safer!
- Invite a Patrol Car, the Bicycle Squad, Mounted Squad, Motorcycle Squad, Dog Squad, Beach Squad (see form attached)
- Invite your neighbourhood Community Policing Centre
- Involve local businesses as sponsors or donors for prizes
- Invite the Fire Department (call 3-1-1 to invite them)
- Look for ways to involve your local businesses, government agencies and other community partners.
- Have games for kids, for example: street hockey, water gun or water balloon fights
- Face painting, Neighbourhood musicians, Piñata for the kids
- Invite your local, municipal, or federal politicians
- Pot luck
- Name tags
- Talent show. Most people have some skill or talent that they can be encouraged to share, i.e., playing an instrument, Tai Chi, singing, unique Yoga positions, etc. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbours and have a laugh or be in awe!
- Theme party. Come dressed as your favourite cartoon crime fighter!
- Have a game to make it easy for people to meet each other. One group used a deck of cards with Block Watch stickers on the back and crime prevention tips on the face. There were four of each kind and you had to find the people who had your matching crime prevention tip J
- Pre-recorded music at a considerate volume
- Some people have meetings in parks closest to their Block Watch instead of on the streets. If you do this, make it easy for the police to find your party; hang balloons and/or use signs to direct people and police to you.
The Vancouver Police Foundation supports programs and initiatives that fall under one of four pillars: Youth Programs, Mental Health & Addictions, Community Outreach & Engagement, and Technology & Special Equipment. You can help build a safer Vancouver by donating to the Vancouver Police Foundation.