Block Watch : Start a Block Watch | Information for Captains | Block Watch FAQs
Start a Block Watch
Follow these easy steps to start a Block Watch in your neighbourhood:
1. Select one Block Captain and one Co-Captain
Select a Captain and Co-Captain. Each Captain and Co-Captain must submit an application and clear the background check. There is no fee for the background check.
You determine the structure that suits your group, i.e. you can have two Captains or two Co-Captains, or as many Captains and Co-Captains as you feel is appropriate for your group. If you are unable to identify a second person to Co-Captain, please contact the Block Watch office.
Generally, the Captain is the primary contact.
2. Build Your Group
Start your Block Watch with the street(s) that the Captain(s) and Co-Captain(s) live on. Work towards getting commitments to participate in Block Watch from at least 10 households on the block you live on or complex you live in. Recruit the homes on your alley side, facing your front door and the ends of the next block.
For condominiums with more than one complex, it is suggested that you recruit a Captain and/or Co-Captain for each site. If you are living in a strata property, notify your council that you are initiating a Block Watch. If you are in a rental, inform the building manager about your Block Watch group.
To avoid inviting problem premises onto your group, first invite the households who you know and trust. You can then ask those group members to refer you to households they know and trust, and so on.
The Start Up Kit includes a “New VPD Block Watch Group Participant List” to gather the names and contact information of neighbours who want to participate. Explain that their information is used to form a “communication chain” between group members, enabling you to share information about suspicious, criminal and other relevant activity so everyone knows what is going on in the area/neighbourhood.
You will also need to identify ways to communicate with members who do not have access to computers or e-mail.
3. Mail or Drop-Off Completed Application Package and Copy of Identification
Mail or drop off the application package to the address on the application. Original signatures are required - no faxes or e-mails.
4. Captain(s) and Co-Captain(s) Attend a Training Session
Once background checks are successfully completed, Captains and Co-Captains are required to attend a training session held at 2120 Cambie Street, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., on a Saturday.
Participants are also welcome to attend the full four-hour training session, but they must complete an application and background clearance. Otherwise, training is provided as outlined in #5 below.
5. Arrange Your First Annual Block Watch Group Meeting/Training Session
After the Captain/Co-Captain training session, you will be contacted to arrange your first annual Block Watch group meeting/training session. It is to be held on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening, in your neighbourhood. You will be provided with Block Watch supplies for each participating household. The Block Watch Investigations & Training Officer will conduct the training.
This meeting/training session gives your group an opportunity to get to know one another, learn to identify and report criminal activity, discuss common neighbourhood concerns, set up your communication chain, and meet and ask questions of the Block Watch police officer you will be liaising with.
6. Complete the Activation of Your Group
Following your first meeting, you will need to complete and submit your first annual group map/participant list to the Block Watch office to complete the activation of your Block Watch. Once the map/list is submitted, your group will then be provided with two Block Watch street signs and the activation is complete.