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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 110, Portland, OR 97204

Block Captains

Neighborhood Block Captain  Program

As a block captain, you get to know your neighbors and build partnerships with the police bureau, the fire bureau and city government. By organizing a neighborhood watch, business watch, or apartment watch, you serve as a leader for your block and encourage neighborhood involvement. Signing up as a block captain is rewarding and assists crime prevention efforts to make Portland a safer place block by block. 

Fact Sheet

What it means to be a Block Captain:

Block Captains are neighborhood leaders working to make their communities safe and livable places to live, work, and play. By becoming a Block Captain, you can build and strengthen partnerships with neighbors, crime prevention, neighborhood associations, and the police bureau. Most Block Captains work with their neighbors to organize a Neighborhood Watch, Business Watch, Apartment Watch, and a community foot patrol or other crime prevention activities. Most importantly, as a Block Captain, you will get to know your neighbors.

The responsibilities of the Block Captain are to:
  • Serve as the primary leader for an organized Neighborhood Watch, Business Watch, Apartment Watch, or community foot patrol and encourage community participation.
  • Coordinate the design, development and distribution of an updated block map, telephone tree, and provide relevant information to the Crime Prevention Specialist. 
  • Relay information about crime and nuisance activity on the block to the Crime Prevention Specialist, the Senior Neighborhood Officer (SNO) or Neighborhood Liaison Officer. 
  • Act as the primary contact person for crime prevention and the neighborhood police precinct.
  • Assist neighbors in accessing city/county crime prevention resources.
  • Welcome and provide orientation to new neighbors.
  • Help to coordinate any block problem solving efforts, meetings, and social gatherings.
  • Recruit block members to attend additional training opportunities.
  • Find a replacement if no longer able to fulfill the duties of a Block Captain.
You can expect that as a Block Captain:

  • Get direct assistance to help you organize and maintain a Neighborhood Watch.
  • Obtain appropriate training about crime prevention information and methods.
  • Receive opportunities to network with other Block Captains.
  • Complete a background investigation application.
Contact: For information on Block Captains, please contact your local Crime Prevention Specialists
Click here to sign up as a Block Captain.

Questions frequently asked by community members:

How does the Block Captain Program work with the existing Neighborhood Watch program?
The Block Captain Program is an enhanced recruitment effort to increase the number of Block Captains for the Neighborhood Watch Program. The Portland Police Bureau and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement have formed a partnership to coordinate the recruitment, training, and maintenance of the existing Neighborhood Watch /Block Captain program.
Why is a background investigation necessary for Block Captain applicants?
Representing the City of Portland as a Block Captain places you in a position of trust. It’s important to everyone in your neighborhood that an effort be made to screen out those who would use their Block Captain status to somehow take advantage of their neighbors, use their position for personal gain or to promote personal agendas. By looking at any criminal record, the City of Portland hopes to eliminate any potential conflicts.
How can I register to become a Block Captain?
There are several ways to register to become a Block Captain. Your Crime Prevention Specialist will provide you with the necessary forms to register. The contact numbers are listed on the front. Application forms are also available at your neighborhood police precinct. Or you can register on-line at: Information about the responsibilities of becoming a designated Block Captain and the type of training applicants will receive are also available through these locations.
Do I have to get my ID card to be a Block Captain?
Identification cards are issued to a Block Captain applicant after the background investigation is completed. The identification card recognizes you as a Portland Police Bureau volunteer. If you are already a Block Captain of a Neighborhood Watch, you do not have to apply for an identification card; however, you are encouraged to consider this expanded role.
I am already a Neighborhood Watch block captain, why do I need to sign up?
There are expanded opportunities and responsibilities for Neighborhood Watch Block Captains. Block Captains agree to take on an active role with their neighbors, with Crime Prevention Specialists, with the Senior Neighborhood Officer and with other Block Captains. Any new Block Captain applicants need to complete a background investigation.
What if my neighbors are not interested in forming a Neighborhood Watch?
You can be a Block Captain even if you do not have an organized Neighborhood Watch. We will work together to recruit others to become involved. As a Block Captain you agree to work with neighbors, police and crime prevention to resolve problems on your block. If no Neighborhood Watch forms, you can still share information with your neighbors.
Will my problem neighbors know that I have signed up to be a Block Captain?
Yes, that is a possibility. Anyone requesting to participate in Neighborhood Watch must be included, unless there is a criminal reason to exclude him or her. While you cannot exclude, you do not have to invite a problem neighbor. These concerns should be discussed with your crime prevention specialist.