Preventing crime in a neighborhood can be easily done with a neighborhood watch program because it involves all members of a society. The Social Control Theory, or Social Bonding Theory, suggests that interactions and relationships between individuals are supported by bonds of commitments, norms, beliefs and values. If these bonds are strong enough, they can then encourage individuals to not break the law. An important fact to point out is that burglars will usually pick a target from a place that is common to them; for example, a house that is on their normal drive to and from work. This makes it easier for the burglar to “case” the house without being obvious. If the Social Bonding Theory is applied, the community would look out for their neighbors and the norms that their neighbors follow as a guide for anything or anyone out of the ordinary. This bonding promotes less crime and more community accountability. The theory also holds each member of a community responsible if, and when, a crime occurs. Then the individual who has been victimized will not feel alone. It forces the community to feel as if they have all been victimized by the act, uniting them even more. The book Criminal Circumstance by Pamela Wilcox, et al, states that “contemporary research … has supported the idea that friendship ties do reduce local crime rates (p 88, 2003).” With social bonding come natural ties of friendship which will contribute to reduced crime. Neighborhood watch programs can promote friendship through a common goal and better sense of community.
Gottfredson, Michael R. & Hirschi, Travis (1990). A general theory of crime. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Wilcox, Pamela & Land, Kenneth C. & Hunt, Scott A. (2002). Criminal circumstance: a dynamic multi-contextual criminal opportunity theory. Edison, NJ: Aldine Transaction.