Telephone chains are moving to email lists and message boards. Today, the National Sherriffs’ Association website has just about 20,000 block watch groups registered. This is four times the number it had one year ago.
With strapped city budgets, neighborhood watches are becoming more and more relied on to aid police with safety alerts. A good example is the Safe Atlanta For Everyone group. From December to July, police on the east side of Atlanta were forced to take eight hours off each week due to a tight budget. After a string of domestic instances, residents founded this group to protect their neighborhood and have since been keeping a constant stream of crime alerts via twitter. One recently posted tweet reads, “black male dark glasses blue cap baggy jeans yellow/black umbrella ‘wrong address.’ Now in neighbor’s yard.”
In response to future budget cuts, some organizations, like the Florida Crime Prevention Association, have stepped up block watch training, sending law enforcement agencies out to train the public in techniques like tweeting and texting. Talk about power to the people!