Creating a neighborhood watch group is one way a community can take a stand against crime - including animal cruelty. And because the ties that bind animal cruelty and interpersonal violence are so strong, the entire community will be safer for pets and people.

So how can you start a neighborhood watch? Send a flier around the neighborhood expressing your desire to start a neighborhood watch. You may also want to call or visit your neighbors. Set up a meeting at your home or a clubhouse for the neighbors to sit and discuss the matters. At first, there may only be a few participants - but that is enough to start a neighborhood watch program.

Contact your local police department. They may send an officer that will help you organize a watch as well as tell you what to do in the event that suspicious activity occurs. The officer may also identify if your neighborhood has a potential problem or not.

Set up who is going to patrol the area and when. On weekends, you may need additional help.

Start a newsletter for your neighborhood watch. Share local crime statistics as well as ways to prevent crime. Welcome your new neighbors to the neighborhood. You may also find it helpful to post signs that your neighborhood is being watched to deter crime.