Here are some tips on starting a crime watch group in your neighborhood, from Fairfax County Police Officer Philip Edwards and from the National Crime Prevention Council's Web site:

* Meet with neighbors to explain the watch concepts, and to discuss crime problems in the community and possible goals for a Watch program.

* Contact your local police station or sheriff's office or another crime prevention organization to let it know you would like to set up a program.

* Set up a time for an officer to come to a neighborhood meeting; publicize it throughout the neighborhood.

* Hold an informational meeting with the officer to learn more about Neighborhood Watch.

* Hold another meeting at which a coordinator and block captains are designated. Decide what types of activities the group will engage in (patrolling the neighborhood, using an engraver, posting signs and stickers) and how the group will communicate (listserv, newsletter, phone tree).

* Arrange for a crime prevention officer to conduct a training session for residents in which he provides guidance for making homes more difficult targets, observing unusual behavior in the neighborhood and reporting information to law enforcement.

* Inquire about eligibility requirements for Neighborhood Watch signs or stickers. Post them if you receive them.

* Maintain frequent contact with law enforcement by phone, e-mail and periodic training.