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Want to protect your own neighborhood? Here’s how.

Last updated on March 5, 2023

One of the big questions regarding our new neighborhood watch was whether we were going to accept volunteers. In fact, we just received our first email regarding that this morning. As a group we are still undecided on the issue. However, we would like to provide some mentoring to those who might want to start something similar in their own area.

There are many different types of neighborhood watch. There have actually been a few in this area that have been going for quite some time. The one in Eastside comes to mind, and I believe their is or used to be one in Charleston. Most of these groups are of the “observe and report” variety but don’t really do any active patrols. I’m not here to denigrate anyone trying to help their community, it’s just that our group felt a more visible presence was needed.

Our group is full of trained and responsible gun owners with pretty good judgement. We can’t assume the same of everyone else. This is where personal responsibility comes in. We are not telling or even asking anyone else to do this. We are simply providing a template you might use if you decide to do it of your own volition. With that said, some ground rules really need to be laid out.

  • The purpose of a neighborhood watch is to provide a visual deterrent while observing and reporting criminal activity.
  • Carrying firearms is not for everyone. Pepper spray or a baton are better for the average person.
    • If firearms are carried, it must be done in a safe and responsible manner.
    • Any weapon carried must only be used in defense of yourself or another person.
    • If your guns or gear are covered in Punisher logos or other stupid stuff like that, get rid of it. In fact, I’d probably take that as a sign you shouldn’t be carrying a gun in the first place.
  • You must be willing to deescalate a dangerous situation as much as possible. Hot heads stay away.
  • We are not here to harass people simply because they are homeless, drug users or look a certain way. Don’t be Sheriff Teasle from “First Blood”.
  • You are not a police officer, which means you have no qualified immunity. If you screw up, you will be held personally responsible for your actions.
  • However, like a police officer doing “community policing”, you should be doing “community caretaking”. Get to know the people in your neighborhood. They are the ones being affected by crime and are also your best source of information. Make sure to keep a notebook handy.
  • Use the homeless and other people on the street as sources of information as well. Many of them are good people and would be more than willing to help in exchange for a hot meal.
  • In addition to 911, have the direct line for your local police department on speed dial. Get to know the police officers patrolling your area. Many times they will give you their own cell phone numbers.
  • At a minimum, try to patrol in pairs. Backup is important, especially at night. Choose your friends wisely. You don’t want them getting you involved in something stupid.
  • Equipment considerations:
    • A good (bright) flashlight
    • Your cellphone
    • A pen and notebook
    • Radios (if patrolling in groups)
      • Pepper spray and/or an impact weapon
      • A firearm (if you are properly trained)
      • A first aid kit (for gunshot/stab wounds, not the crappy kind from Walmart)
  • Remember, this is serious business, not a game. No matter how many people accuse us of “playing soldier” or call us a “wannabe cop”, it’s simply not true. They are projecting their own fears and inadequacies on others. Don’t be the idiot they think you are.

If you would like to contact us, either with info or questions, I’ve created an email especially for that:

I think that about covers it for now. As we continue this, I’m sure other lessons will be learned which I’ll try to pass on in future posts. Stay safe out there.

-Matthew Wilbanks (Editor @

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