Neighborhood Associations

Home Owner Association (HOA) is an organization established to govern a private community via established covenants. By buying a lot and/or home in the community, an owner automatically becomes a member of the homeowners association. A HOA is similar to other corporations - it is governed by a board of directors elected by the members and set of rules called by-laws or covenants. The collective goal of the homeowners association is to maintain the quality of the property and the lifestyle envisioned by the planned residential development.

Neighborhood Watch Association (NWA) is a group of people organized for the purpose of considering and acting upon any of the broad range issues affecting the livability and quality of their neighborhood. A NWA may be "recognized" by the City. A recognized NWA is one that meets the guidelines of the Neighborhood Initiative Office and CAO's. This autonomous organization formed by the people within the specifically defined geographic area includes the home owners, property owners, renters and businesses within the defined boundaries. 

Intent of the Neighborhood Watch Association:

  • Build a partnership with the community to reduce crime and improve livability 
  • Instill a greater sense of security while reducing the fear of crime
  • Create a "Sense of community" and put the "neighborhood" back into the neighborhood

Organizing a Neighborhood Watch Association:

  • Establish the need for a NWA
  • Select a president and block captains to organize the NWA
  • Contact a neighborhood initiative coordinator and CAO to present the NWA to the group
  • Select a location to hold the NWA start-up meeting
  • Select a date and time for the NWA meeting
  • Prepare an agenda for the NWA start-up meeting
  • Invite your neighbors to the NWA start-up meeting

Identify Some Preliminary Goals for the Community:

  • Specific so you have a clear idea of what actions need to be taken
  • Measurable so you know when the goal is achieved
  • Challenging, but realistic
  • Have significance to you and the community
  • Wishes or hopes that are written down on paper
  • Motivating and challenging without being rigid

Set a Date for the Achievement of the Goals listed:

  • Long-range goals - accomplished in a three to five year period
  • Short-range goals - accomplished in a six month to one year period
  • Immediate goals - must be accomplished consistently to move forward to the short-range goals
  • Determine the concerns of the community in regards to the crimes occurring in their area
  • Ascertain from the MWC PD the reported crimes occurring in their area
  • Design programs to address the concerns of the community
  • Advance and maintain the programs so that the community will participate 
  • Evaluate the success of the Neighborhood Watch program as it relates to crime reduction and the fear of the crime
  • Address other issues or concerns that the community may have (i.e. disaster preparedness, health safety issues)

Biggest Killers of a Neighborhood Watch Association:

  • Lack of clear and varied goals
  • Lack of strong community involvement
  • Lack of ongoing leadership

Purpose of a NWA in Your Community:

  • Reducing the risk of begin a crime victim
  • Being better prepared to respond to suspicious activity
  • Greater access to criminal activity information
  • Getting to know your neighbors
  • Reducing the fear of crime and making your neighborhood more livable
  • Allowing other issues of concern to be addressed 
  • Receive a "NWA" sign to post in your neighborhood

What Makes a NWS Successful?

  • Must get everyone in the community involved (young/old, married/single, homeowner/renter)
  • Communicate with the NWA participants
  • People have a need to know what is going on in the group
  • People need to feel like their ideas and inputs are valued
  • People need to feel that the NWA is working

Maintaining an Active Neighborhood Watch Program:

  • Hold regular meetings
  • Share information (good and bad) with your neighbors

Communication is the Key:

  • Meeting announcements should be to the point and timely so that people can get it on their calendar
  • Encourage block captains and other neighbors within the community to take a leading role at meetings
  • Keep meeting brief and on target
  • Develop a newsletter to keep your neighbors informed - distribute on a regular basis
  • Develop a website to keep your neighbors informed
  • Develop an email tree to keep your neighbors informed
  • Recognized your neighbors for the good things they do within your community
  • Make sure the community knows that you are getting things done
  • Encourage social events where you can communicate more informally
  • Be conscious of the tone of voice and language used when communicating with people 

Benefits PRovided by the City of Midwest City:

  • Neighborhood clean-ups
  • C.O.P.P.S. - Citizens on Patrol - the Midwest City Police Department will train you and your neighbors how to patrol your neighborhood and correctly report problems in the area
  • A neighborhood initiative coordinator and CAO will attend every meeting
  • Personal connection to resources at city hall
  • City of Midwest City NWA signs (these signs are placed at the entrance of your NWA boundaries)

Neighborhood Watch is NOT:

  • A vigilante force working outside the normal procedures of law enforcement 
  • A program designed for participants to take personal risks to prevent crime
  • A 100% guarantee that crime will not occur in your neighborhood

Resources:

  • http://www.municode.com
  • http://www.cmpd.org
  • http://www.citizencorps.gov
  • http://www.natw.org
  • http://www.nccrimecontrol.org
  • http://www.ncpc.org
  • http://www.mcgruff.org
  • http://www.ready.gov
  • http://www.tampagov.net


To learn more about existing Neighborhood Associations or to get information on starting a new association, please call 405.739.1005.