Back in the late 1960's, in the aftermath of the brutal rape and murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, NY, modern neighborhood watch groups began forming. Not long after, the watch system became more formal when the U.S. Neighborhood Watch Program was established by the National Sheriffs' Association.
Today there are more than 20,000 local neighborhood watch programs and an estimated 50,000 informal programs operating across the U.S.
But while watch groups originally formed in response to crime, they are now confusingly linked to what might or might not have been an overstep on the part of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.
In the aftermath of the Zimmerman verdict, we're asking three neighborhood watch organizers from all over the country to talk with us about whether the case affects their efforts and how the world perceives them.
Peter Nichols is the founder and coordinator of Melrose Action Neighborhood Watch in California. Barry Mullen established crime watches on over 70 blocks in his neighborhood in Dorchester, Massachusetts and he has worked on neighborhood watch programs for 20 years. Larken Egleston is the neighborhood watch chairman for his Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association outside of Charlotte, North Carolina.
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