n 1974, a neighborhood crime watch group was organized in South Dade County. Citizens met with their local law enforcement departments to ask what they could do to help the police apprehend a rapist terrorizing their community. From this first informal meeting, communities and law enforcement began to work together to keep neighborhoods safe and free from crime. An organization was formed, and Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County, Inc. (CCW) was registered as a 501(c)(3) non- profit organization. Since then, many neighborhoods have participated in the crime watch concept. In 1979, the crime watch concept was introduced into the public school system at one school. Because it succeeded in curbing school crime, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) requested we, CCW, expand its student crime watch program from one school to be available in all public schools in the county. Since that time, Youth Crime Watch of Miami-Dade (YCW) has functioned as an allied program of the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department.
History and Methodology
The Miami-Dade Schools Police Department contracts with YCW to educate and train students in violence and crime prevention strategies & skills. Students also learn that good citizenship and personal responsibility include watching out for family, friends, schools, and community. The YCW program is structured to teach leadership skills to students who volunteer to learn about school safety. While they learn how to keep themselves safe, they also learn public speaking, critical thinking, leadership, and other skills that will serve them into their adult lives. This, in turn, reinforces their self-esteem and promotes positive involvement, again curbing misbehavior, crime and violence in the school.