Slate has a short, but interesting piece on the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of Neighborhood Watch programs. I have the feeling I'll be Googling this topic this weekend.
One quote jumped out at me:
"The program can even have a negative impact on middle-class communities. Some studies suggest that neighborhood watch makes residents feel less safe, because it constantly reminds them of the possibility of crime."
Equally true of neighborhood email lists, no? Reading messages about local crime can be very useful, but it's probably not so helpful when it occurs in a vacuum. It seems like a timely topic for us locally considering that portions of 1-D seem to be experiencing an uptick in robberies.