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Pro/Con: Do neighborhood watch programs deter crime?

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Aug. 18, 2013 at 3:18 a.m.
Updated Aug. 19, 2013 at 3:19 a.m.


George Zimmerman was acquitted last month in Florida for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African-American high school student who lived in Zimmerman's neighborhood.

At the time, Zimmerman, 28, was a newly appointed neighborhood watch coordinator for his gated community, the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Fla.

The shooting incident, as well as last month's acquittal, has led to international discussion about the effectiveness of neighborhood watch programs, "stand your ground" laws and vigilantism. Do neighborhood watch programs help deter crime, or do they breed environments of suspicious spying and vigilantes?

PRO: Neighborhood residents need to look out for each other in watches

CON: Neighborhood watches may give citizens a sense of too much power

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