September 18, 2019

How to Ensure That a Neighborhood Watch Group Doesn’t Mutate Into a Vigilante Group

There is always the risk of a neighborhood watch group that was initially set up with good motives turning into a malevolent vigilante group. Therefore, when setting up a neighborhood watch group, you need to take certain steps, to ensure that it doesn’t mutate into a vigilante group.

Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the most effective way to ensure that a neighborhood watch group doesn’t turn into a vigilante group is through effective training. The members of the neighborhood watch group need to be trained about the various thresholds. Those include the threshold at which they should start watching a particular person’s movements very keenly, the threshold at which they should stop a person, the threshold at which they should call the police… and so on. Most importantly, the members of the neighborhood watch group need to be trained against taking the law into their own hands, and against harassing people unnecessarily.

I have also come to the conclusion that the other highly effective way to ensure that a neighborhood watch group doesn’t mutate into a vigilante group is through careful selection of members. People who have negative attitudes (for instance, people who have power and control problems) should generally not be included in patrol duties. Neither should people who are known to have violent dispositions, or people who are prone to start harassing folks passing by unnecessarily. All neighbors can, of course, be participants in the neighborhood watch program. But not everyone should actually be allowed to go on patrol duties.