National Neighborhood Watch – a Division of the National Sheriffs' Association

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October is Time to Celebrate Safe Communities!

Each year, law enforcement agencies, citizens, community groups, and government agencies join together in October for Crime Prevention Month. Whether your community has been hit by a new crime trend or mortgage foreclosure, or your block club or neighborhood watch program needs revitalizing, planning a safety event this October for Crime Prevention Month is a great way to keep your community safe, meet new partners, and make a difference in your community.

Crime prevention is everybody's business and whether you have an event planned in October, November or next spring, you are invited to join with others nationally to Celebrate Your Safe Community. Since its 2008 launch by agency partners—the National Crime Prevention Council, the National Sheriff's Association (NSA), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)--the Celebrate Safe Communities Initiative has reached over 250 sites in 36 states.

Celebrate Safe Communities is a national initiative to provide free resources and support for local crime prevention efforts, a time to spotlight local initiatives, and a time to motivate, inspire, and join others locally and nationally to create year-round support for prevention activities that help keep communities safe from crime.

Celebrate Safe Communities is FREE! Whether you are cleaning up a park, planning a youth violence prevention march, sharing tips on internet safety, bullying or sexting, or have not yet planned an event, Celebrate Safe Communities is for you. Go to www.celebratesafecommunities.org to get ideas or to register your event. When you register your event, you will receive items, such as radio PSA's to promote your event, a neighborhood watch manual, reproducible brochures, as well as some specialty items for children and adults to hand-out at your event, while supplies last. New this year, Celebrate Safe Communities has a chat forum where you can share your ideas or ask questions from staff or other registered sites, and a catalog where you can localize and order your own CSC specialty items.

Safe communities are no accident. The time to act is now. Join the founding partners of Celebrate Safe Communities to help Americans of all ages know that crime prevention is everyone's business every day of the year.

Local Community EVENT TIPS:

  • SET YOUR GOAL
    • You want to familiarize your neighborhood with your program, how it works and how to be involved
    • A planned EVENT can have more impact than just a "meeting" to achieve your GOAL
  • DEFINE THE DETAILS FOR YOUR EVENT
    • When and where it will take place, who will speak, who to invite, what will be on the AGENDA
    • Be sure your event does not conflict with another area event
    • Who are your helpers, volunteers and coworkers?
    • * Allow time before the event to brainstorm ideas, set deadlines and delegate responsibilities
  • PREPARE AN AGENDA
    • Set time limits -- how much time will each speaker or speakers be able to speak
    • Be a bit generous with time between agenda items to assure you don't run past your scheduled ending time; also allow time for interaction between audience and event participants
  • CHOOSE AN EMCEE OR MODERATOR
    • *Define the Emcee's duties, such as welcoming the audience, introducing speakers, keeping the event going and on time
    • Provide the Emcee with names and info on each speaker to give an introduction
    • If you invite VIPs, elected officials, or local personalities, alert the Emcee to recognize these individuals and have them stand up
    • Ask local media personalities to moderate and they can provide you with coverage in a local media outlet
  • CHOOSE YOUR SPEAKERS
    • Experts in the field, those with success stories, people currently involved
    • Contact them well in advance; let them know who long they will be expected to speak
    • Determine if there will be a question and answer period; if there will be handouts or literature
    • Address the speakers' needs – parking info, availability of food and water, audio-visual and electrical equipment
  • ATTRACT YOUR AUDIENCE
    • Get the word out -- create a flyer, brochure or poster to distribute, email or post on bulletin boards at neighborhood libraries, community centers, local businesses and other public buildings where posting flyers is allowed
    • Computer Programs like Microsoft Publisher and Adobe Photoshop can
    • be used to create colorful documents advertising your event, its location, date and time
    • Consider a classified ad in the local newspapers, a notice in community organization bulletins, school and church groups;
    • Send a press release to local media, TV, radio or publications, ask to post an ad on appropriate or relevant internet sites and consider advertising on a local public access TV channel
    • *Public access television is an excellent way to reach a large audience in a short amount of time
    • Appear at other events prior to yours and pass out flyers, engage in conversations, answer questions and introduce yourself and your event
  • CREATE CHECKLIST OF DETAILS TO STAGE YOUR EVENT
    • Will you need a podium for speakers, microphones for them and/or the audience to ask questions? How many chairs for the speakers and audience and how arranged? Have you provided tables for handouts? Can you provide access for the handicapped? Will there be media coverage?
    • What supplies will be needed to set up before and clean up after your event? Will you allow video or audio recording during the event?
    • Will you need visual aids, posters on easels, sandwich boards, banners or balloons to attract and direct your audience when they arrive?
    • Will there be a sign-in sheet or guestbook to help be in touch after the event?
  • DEVELOP A PLAN B
    • Anticipate possible problems, such as bad weather, speakers running late or not showing up, mechanical and electrical problems and how to deal with them
  • BE A GOOD HOST DURING THE EVENT AND AFTER
    • Send thank-you's to speakers, volunteers and other participants who helped make your event a SUCCESS

For more information, contact Marsha Hott at mhott@ncpc.org or Robbi Woodsen at RWOODSON@sheriffs.org.