What authority does the neighborhood watch have to observe or direct people to d

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  1. Scottmonster profile image82
    Scottmonsterposted 10 years ago

    What authority does the neighborhood watch have to observe or direct people to do something?

    Much has been made of the fact that when you call the Police, you're not really talking to a cop and therefore don't have to obey a given directive. Neighborhood Watch members are not sworn officers either, so why do you have to obey them. How can you know that a person identifying themselves as N.W. is in fact a member?

  2. ChristinS profile image40
    ChristinSposted 10 years ago

    Excellent questions and ones that are very relevant. How often do criminals pose as some kind of authority figure? It happens quite frequently.  No one has to obey a neighborhood watch volunteer. It is their job to call authorities when they see something suspicious, not to take the law into their own hands or stalk and harass people etc.  I would hate to live in a neighborhood where people felt they had law enforcement type authority not bestowed upon them, particularly if they are armed.

    That being said, in my neighborhood we have a tendency to notice things that aren't right or out of place and call our neighbors.  I saw a guy break into a neighbors house one night during a storm. I could have run over there with a gun and started antagonizing him, but instead we talked to the neighbor and found out it was in fact his nephew breaking in to escape a storm because he had forgotten his keys. 

    One night after a string of vandalism, I went out to my car in the middle of the night for something and I see my big, hulking neighbor walk out to his driveway and he said "hey whats up?" - he didn't stalk me, intimidate me or come onto my property because I said "not much" and he knew it was me.... he then told me he didn't mean to intrude was just keeping an eye on things due to recent activity. THAT is a neighborhood watch - not wannabe armed vigilantes running around stalking or harrassing anything that is "suspicious"...

    1. profile image0
      CalebSparksposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      What you described is how we all wish things ALWAYS happened, but many situations are in fact life or death and innocent people have often been saved because someone used a gun. Of course the major "news" networks won't cover those stories.

    2. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Many more people get accidentally killed by those improperly trained in the use of a gun also. I am not anti-gun, but we certainly don't need to return to the wild west to be safe. More guns have not been the answer to our violent society.

    3. profile image0
      CalebSparksposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I understand your concerns, Ms. S. I would like to point out that deaths caused by firearms accidents are very low compared to how often guns are used for self-defense situations (hundreds of thousands of times per year).

    4. Scottmonster profile image82
      Scottmonsterposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      If you want to feel strong, work out. Plenty of chicken-hawks out there feel strong by carrying a gun. Since when can you get in a fight, and then kill someone when you start to lose? ZM could have stayed in his car and no one would have died.

  3. Angela Kane profile image57
    Angela Kaneposted 10 years ago

    No I do not believe the neighborhood watch has the authority to direct or give orders to anyone. They need to call the police and let them handle it, in no way should they take the law into their own hands or confront anyone. That is not their job, they are law enforcement professionals.

  4. profile image0
    Larry Wallposted 10 years ago

    Our civic organization pays an off-duty sheriff's deputy who with the department's permission, uses a marked car to patrol the neighborhood. Every neighborhood cannot do that and every law enforcement agency cannot spare the vehicle. In those cases the neighborhood watch participants have two responsibilities. The first is to observe if there is any suspicious activity going on in the neighborhood and the second is to contact the authorities. The fact that the neighborhood watch person was carrying a guy was not a responsibility require of his volunteer position, it was his decision to exercise his first amendment right to bear arms. Had he left the gun at home, everyone would had been better off.

    1. profile image0
      CalebSparksposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      That's the Second Amendment, Mr. Wall...not the First. And had he left the gun at home...well...he would probably be dead and no one would care anything about it...especially the media.

    2. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      you're jumping to conclusions Caleb. Trayvon was not out to murder anyone. He jumped zimmerman because he was being stalked for heaven sakes.

    3. profile image0
      CalebSparksposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      In that case Martin was the attacker and Zimmerman defended himself. Had he not reached for his weapon, GZ would be another unnoticed dead guy.

    4. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      No Caleb, had Zimmerman not played renegade vigilante and stalked Trayvon none of this would have happened and that is an inescapable fact.

    5. Scottmonster profile image82
      Scottmonsterposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      It's exceptionally paranoid to me to think that the only possible outcomes here involved someone dying. And it doesn't address the question at all. What was ZM's authority to involve himself at all?

    6. celafoe profile image55
      celafoeposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      caleb   it is fruitless to argue with  liberals, they dont think, they just drink the koolaid and collect their govt pay.

    7. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I stand corrected on the amendment numbering--been hospitalized for a week. If he had no gun, I doubt there would had been any confrontation...I always care when someone is needlessly harmed.

    8. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      celafoe insulting whole groups of people shows your inability to reason - critical thinking is your friend. Insults come from weak people who can't form logical arguments.

    9. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      The term neighborhood watch is a telling term--you watch your neighborhood. You do not have police authority. You do not have the right to detain someone, threaten or attempt to subdue him. That is why we have police. A uninformed officer is imposing

    10. profile image0
      CalebSparksposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I'm sorry to hear of your hospitalization, Mr. Wall. I hope everything is back on track now.

    11. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Ca leSparks:
      Thank you for your kind wishes. I had to make a repeat follow up visit last night and have another out-patient procedure performed today, but I think we got it right this time.
      Take Care,

  5. MelissaVsWorld profile image83
    MelissaVsWorldposted 10 years ago

    It honestly depends upon the jurisdiction they are in at the time.  Some jurisdictions have neighborhood watches that are lead by officers, and they go through "citizen police training", thereby giving them permission to follow and to monitor anything happening within their watch area. Not every area does this though.  However, there is still a civilian arrest law on the books in most places that do allow citizens to make a "citizen's arrest" and hold a person they saw commit a crime until officers arrive.  Some officers are part of their local neighborhood watch, so stating that members are not sworn officers is not an absolute truth.

    Having worked as a police dispatcher and 911 call taker myself, I will say that in some jurisdictions when you call 911 or the non-emergency line if one exists in your jurisdiction you do, in fact, speak with a sworn officer.

  6. Shawn McIntyre profile image76
    Shawn McIntyreposted 10 years ago

    The answer to this question is in the name of the group, they are the Neighborhood "Watch", period. They have no more, or less, authority than any other private citizen. You do not have to "obey" directions given by anyone in the neighborhood watch, nor should they be giving directions in the first place. All they should do is call the police.

    Now some neighborhoods, like mine, do have armed security, but they're a completely different entity entirely. Most private security companies have no legal authority, and you can still ignore them the same as you would the N.W., the only difference is, they can intervene if they see a crime in progress.

    My neighborhood, like Larry's, uses off duty sheriff's deputies for our security. They're actual cops and have all the usual authority.

  7. suzettenaples profile image89
    suzettenaplesposted 10 years ago

    Absolutely no authority.  That is why they need to notify police and then not engage anyone they suspect.  Had Zimmerman done that, Trayvon Martin would be alive today.


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