Board of County Commissioners
In 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. Today, over 1,600 neighborhoods participate 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 include all public schools in the county. Since that time, Youth Crime Watch of Miami-Dade (YCW) has functioned as an allied program of the public schools.
The public school system contracts with YCW to educate and train students in violence and crime prevention strategies. Children also learn that good citizenship and personal responsibility includewatching out for family, friends, schools and community. YCW maintains a presence in all M-DCPS.
The foundation of the YCW program is built upon a “school safety survey” which is administered at the school during the first few months of the school year. It asks respondents to rank their particular safety concerns – those issues which they believe have the potential to cause harm to themselves or their schoolmates. YCW students, student advisors, and our staff are then enlisted in the effort to resolve those issues impeding the safety, health, and education of young people. The results of the survey are prioritized and comprise the core content of the YCW program.
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.