||It has been suggested that Town watch be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since May 2012.|
||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (November 2012)|
A neighborhood watch or neighbourhood watch (see spelling differences), also called a crime watch or neighborhood crime watch, is an organized group of citizens devoted to crime and vandalism prevention within a neighborhood. In the United States it builds on the concept of a town watch from Colonial America.
Organization and History 
Neighborhood watches are not vigilante organizations. When suspecting criminal activities, members are encouraged to contact authorities and not to intervene.
Neighborhood watches in the U.S. 
The current American system of neighborhood watches began developing in the late 1960s as a response to the rape and murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York. People became outraged after reports that a dozen witnesses did nothing to save Genovese or to apprehend her killer. Some locals formed groups to watch over their neighborhoods and to look out for any suspicious activity in their areas. Shortly thereafter, the National Sheriffs' Association began a concerted effort in 1972 to revitalize the "watch group" effort nationwide.
The neighborhood watch system gained intense media attention after the February, 2012, fatal shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain. Zimmerman, who wasn't acting in his neighborhood watch role at the time of the shooting, claimed self-defense and has been charged with second-degree murder in the case. His actions on the night of the shooting generated controversy as he left his vehicle to pursue Martin and was carrying a gun, both of which go against neighborhood watch recommendations. He has also been accused by prosecutors of profiling Martin, and he is being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department for possibly committing a racial hate crime. Martin was black and Zimmerman is a mixed-race Hispanic.
In another incident involving a neighborhood watch, Eliyahu Werdesheim, part of an Orthodox Jewish community in Maryland, was convicted in May 2012 of second-degree assault and false imprisonment for beating and then pinning down a teenager he thought suspicious in 2010. Werdersheim and his brother, who had also been charged in the case but was acquitted, chose a bench trial, contending they wouldn't get a fair trial due to the publicity over the Martin case. He was given a three-year suspended sentence and three years of probation at sentencing in June 2012.
A June 2012 New York Times article reported that neighborhood watches in the New York City area are growing again after decades of decrease due to lower crime rates. It also said that neighborhood watch groups feel under scrutiny since the Martin shooting.
In response to the Trayvon Martin case, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) began drafting a bill that would require neighborhood watch groups to be certified and limit their duties. Currently, with local police agencies setting guidelines for their neighborhood watches, groups across the U.S. vary greatly in their scope, function, the level of activity by their members, and training. Robert McCrie, professor of security management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, disagrees with Lee's initiative. He believes that standards for neighborhood watches “are best left to the state or local community,” although he would support background checks for volunteers.
Neighborhood Watch organizations 
- Neighbourhood Watch (United Kingdom)
- Neighbourhood Watch Australasia (Australia and New Zealand)
- Block Parent Program (Canada)
- Shomrim (United States and United Kingdom)
- Crimestoppers (United States, United Kingdom and Australia)
- Natteravnene (Norway)
- People's Units (North Korea)
- proNACHBAR (Austria)
- Senkom Mitra Polri (Indonesia)
- Voluntary People's Druzhina (Soviet Union)
- WAS (Netherlands) (Netherlands)
See also 
- Citizen Observer
- Guardian Angels
- National Neighborhood Watch Program
- National Night Out
- Neighbourhood action group
- No-go area
- Priority board
- PubWatch (in the UK)
- Rasenberger, Jim (October 2006). "Nightmare On Austin Street". American Heritage Magazine.
- Hamacher, Brian. "George Zimmerman Makes First Appearance Before Judge". NBC Miami. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
- "George Zimmerman charged, hearing expected Thursday". CNN. April 11, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
- Robles, Frances (March 17, 2012). "Shooter of Trayvon Martin a habitual caller to cops". The Miami Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- Simon, Mallory; McConnell, Dugald (March 23, 2012). "Neighbors describe watch leader". CNN. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
- "Justice Department, FBI to probe Florida teen's death". CNN. March 20, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "Judge grants Werdesheim brothers bench trial". wbaltv.com. April 25, 2012.
- Sodaro, John. "Shadow Policing".
- "Probation in Md. neighborhood watch beating case". Associated Press. June 27, 2012.
- Wilson, Michael (June 22, 2012). "Far From a Shooting in Florida, an Increase in Block Watchers". New York Times.
- National Neighborhood Watch Program (U.S.)
- Neighbourhood Support New Zealand (equivalent to Neighbourhood Watch)
- Nation of Neighbors
- Wijk en Agent Samen (Neighbors and Police working together)
- UK Neighbourhood Watch Trust
- UK Neighbourhood Watch Community messaging facility
- UK official Neighbourhood Watch and Home Watch organisation