"Neighborhood Watch grew out of a movement in the United States that promoted greater involvement of citizens in the prevention of crime […] The main method by which Neighborhood Watch is supposed to help reduce crime is when residents look for and report suspicious incidents to the police and thereby perhaps deter potential offenders from committing a crime […] One of the first evaluations of Neighborhood Watch programs in the United States was of the Seattle (Washington) Community Crime Prevention Project launched in 1973 […] One of the first evaluations of Neighborhood Watch programs1 in the United Kingdom (UK) was of the Home Watch program implemented in 1982 in Cheshire […] Both evaluations identified a greater reduction in burglary in areas where Neighborhood Watch programs had been introduced, than in comparison areas. Since the 1980s, the number of Neighborhood Watch programs in the UK has expanded considerably […] A similar expansion has occurred in the U.S. […] Considering such large investments of resources and community involvement, it is important to ask whether Neighborhood Watch is effective in reducing crime. To investigate this, we reviewed all available studies evaluating the effectiveness of Neighborhood Watch programs in reducing crime. In this publication we summarize the findings of this review and discuss policy implications."
Crime Prevention Research Review No. 3
Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services: http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/