How effective is neighborhood watch?

TRI-CITIES - Neighbors banding together to fight crime. KEPR learned more local communities are starting block watches. We compared crime numbers to see how much a difference the program makes.

Your home is where you build a life, a family. Finding space to raise your kids and live in safety. Not a place to house crime.

"It's nice to know we're looking out for our neighbors," said Richland resident Darcy Coyne.

Darcy Coyne moved to Richland a couple years ago. She's heard stories of criminals targeting other neighborhoods.

"The tire slashing on the cars and things like that. We haven't heard anything around here," said Coyne.

She's part of a neighborhood watch. Darcy says it's all about collaboration.

"You've got so many people looking out for you -- you can't do it yourself," added Coyne.

That seems to be working. Darcy's home near Brantingham Greens is in a safer pocket of Richland according to the crime stats we viewed. Officials pointed out some areas struck by car prowls a couple neighborhoods away. Police tell us those areas haven't signed up for neighborhood watch.

While it's not an extreme difference, police say grouping together is good prevention.

"If neighborhoods don't come together and realize that they are maybe having the same problems or same concerns, then they can't be resolved," said Richland Police Officer Rick Kane.

So what works? Are criminals scared off by the sign? Or are neighbors more likely to call on trouble? Police say it could be both.

"Awareness of what's going on in your neighborhood is power," said Officer Kane.

It's a similar story in Pasco. We compared another set of neighborhoods. A neighborhood just south of Highland Park set up a block watch. So far this year -- no property crimes have been reported nearby. To the right on the 400 block of Douglas Avenue, there is no block watch. One theft was reported near Douglas so far this year. It's an effort to fight crime together. So that residents like Darcy can live in peace.