Neighborhood Watch Signs

Ever notice how outdated those classic neighborhood watch signs are?

Me neither until we were out for a walk the other day.


When is the last time a criminal wore a fedora and a trenchcoat or looked like one of the Spy vs. Spy guys?

Sigh. People who rob houses just don’t dress up like they used to.

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110 Responses to Neighborhood Watch Signs

  1. Meg says:

    As a child I completely expected to be abducted by a faceless man wearing a trench coat and fedora. When I grew up and realized most child predators look like everybody else I was disturbingly disappointed.

  2. Melissa says:

    Spy vs. Spy was the only good idea I ever came up with for a ‘couples’ Halloween costume. Goodwill and my husband’s artistry with poster board made it cheap too.

    And the (original, 70’s) Hamburgler scared the absolute shit out of me waaaaaay more than the neighborhood watch cowboy.

  3. Nina says:

    Ha ha, where are the good old days?

  4. Amethyst says:

    When I was five, I thought those signs said Neighborhood *Witch*. Every time I saw one, I assumed the neighborhood had hired a witch to protect it. I was really good and quiet when we drove through those neighborhoods.

  5. KyFireWife says:

    I always thought it was weird that the signs had a picture showing “no detectives”.
    I mean, I know it’s a neighborhood watch, but do we really want to get rid of the bad guys?

  6. Jackie says:

    *Like* LOL

  7. Jill says:

    LOL the good ole days!

  8. Angela says:

    OMG, I never noticed that until you mention it but it is so hilarious and true!

  9. Tehillah says:

    LOL! Your drawings always crack me up, the crappier the better 🙂

  10. Andy says:

    We had a similar experience with our daughter.

    We were driving out of the neighborhood one day, when she told us “to tell her if we saw any black people, because they weren’t allowed.” Come to find out she meant the neighborhood watch sign, because…that guy’s black.

  11. Amanda says:

    Hahaha! Good point. Thinking about it now, the ‘criminal’ looks to me like it came right out of ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?’ Do we need to find the loot and the warrant first? Oh yes, and where is Rockapella when you need them? 😉

  12. Alicia says:

    This is so funny, I never really thought about it but we have those signs all over our neighborhood and I’ll never see them the same!

  13. Sarah says:

    So funny!

  14. Carrie W. says:

    This absolutely cracks me up and makes my day, thanks!

  15. Sabrina says:

    My 5 y/o daughter kept asking about werewolves in the neighborhood and it took me a while to figure out she was referring to that sign.

  16. diana says:

    I’ve wondered the same thing about the “call” button on our cell phones…it’s shaped like an old fashioned hand set…when are our children EVER going to see one of those?

    • Jen H says:

      We found a child’s rotary play phone in a box of old stuff in our attic. My 2 year old son, who has never seen anything but iPhones, picked up the receiver and said, “hello?” I thought it was hilarious and fascinating that he somehow knew it was a phone…

      • Cassandra says:

        My son did the same thing. He was 20 months old when he came across a toy rotary phone and he had a whole conversation with his Grandma. I couldn’t figure out how he made the connection.

    • Jessica C says:

      How about the Save icon in MS Office? A floppy disk? My 15yo sister has never used one, let alone my kiddo!

  17. Melanie says:

    Oh that is just adorable! I love how kids see things!

  18. Courtney says:

    Firstly, you did a really good job of replicating the Neighborhood Watch sign. Secondly, Crappy Baby is a regular comedian. No cowboys! Finally, those signs always creeped me out. Why does shadow man have white demon eyes?!

  19. Karen says:


    “People who rob houses just don’t dress up like they used to.”

    Is brilliant! LOL!

  20. E says:

    Just the other day, my coworker asked why there was a wine glass next to the signal strength on our cell phones.

  21. Trish Bowers says:

    I had the same problem with the “Do Not Pass” signs. I always thought my mom was going to get pulled over for driving pass those signs, when it obviously said not to pass….

    • Wendy says:

      LOL! Mine was the “For Sale” signs stuck on a tree or fence….who would sell a great big tree or their fence????

    • mb says:

      Me too! The “do not pass” signs! Even after she explained it, I was still concerned.

      Also, when my mom turned left at a stop light, I’d see the red light for the cars coming from our right and shout: “red light!” really loudly to warn her about it. Likr I thought she had to stop in the intersection and wait for that light to turn green too. I think I almost gave her a heart attack! She corrected that misconception pretty quickly.

    • Jessica says:

      What about the “in case of fire use stairs” signs near elevators? As a kid I thought that meant that everyone should always use the stairs in case there happened to be a fire. I was very concerned…

  22. Tinue says:

    When they showed images of the Aaron Hernandez’s arraignment on the news the other day, my 5yo asked me who he was. I said he was a bad guy. My son looked at me with incredulous eyes:
    “But mom, he can’t be, he’s not wearing a bad guy hat!”
    For my son, all bad guys are like the LEGO bad guys! ;o)
    See picture here:

  23. Kim says:

    For the longest time my oldest daughter kept talking about how scary the “no hunting” sign was. I was so confused for a long line because I was like of course there is no hunting in the neighborhood what is she talking about. One day driving home we stopped at a stop sign just down the street and she covered her eyes and was pointing saying “there it is! The no hunting sign!!!” I sat for a while and was like what???? Then it dawned in me that she was pointing to the neighborhood watch sign. She is 11 now and we still pick on her about it!

    • Laura says:

      Foe about a year now, my beautiful 3 year old blonde/ blue eyed granddaughter has been telling everyone, “remember when I was a black baby?”. Of course we do not remember this but to tell her that just infuriated her. Finally, a few weeks ago it all became clear. With an increased vocabulary and a photo album she showed her mommy when she was a black baby.. Her 2nd Halloween she was a panda bear! I almost wish it wasn’t so logical because the idea that she was a black baby for nearly a year was just too funny!

      • Robonanny says:

        My son did the same thing – all people are labelled according to the colour of the top they were wearing. Black guy in a white top = “the white man”. White girl in black top = “the black girl”. It confused the heck out of everyone else!!!

  24. Andrea says:

    Hilarious. There really should be a dress code for criminals.

  25. Rach says:

    We (UK) have a Policeman and some ‘friendly’ looking neighbours on our old ones, but the new ones have meerkats – much better!

  26. Kristen says:

    I thought the neighborhood watch signs were for sexual predators…saying that they lived in the general area?

    • Anne says:

      No, these ones are just the generic ones that are everywhere saying “all suspicious activity will be reported” or something like that.

    • Amanda says:

      If you google SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY followed by your city or county, you can probably find an online database to see where they are in your area. Having said that, though, there are registerable crimes that don’t make someone a predator (like joining the mile-high club). So don’t just assume that everyone in the database in a total creep.

  27. Jen D. says:

    SO true!! I’ve never thought of that before… I read this interesting blog post about how we should be teaching our kids about “tricky people” and not “strangers” (see post: and she references her source as the Safely Ever After, Inc., folks ( Anyway, thought you might find it interesting! As a former teacher and almost (7 weeks!) new mom, I found it extremely useful!!

  28. Laurie says:

    When I was pregnant, I parked in the expectant mother parking spots. They were labeled with signs that had a stork carrying a baby in a blanket. My 4 year old asked, “Why is that bird carrying a bag of trash?”

  29. fabialous says:

    when I moved to the states 10 years ago I thought this was supposed to be a mean looking cat. didn’t quite get the connection between mean looking cats and neighborhood safety… lol

  30. Sarah says:

    My son is convinced that the “No Parking” signs (the “P” with the circle & line) mean “No Peeing.”

  31. Lol. Here they apparently look like falling meteors. Took me awhile to convince my son we weren’t doomed.

    • Alex says:

      We have the “eye” signs too. I’ve never seen the Carmen Sandiego signs before. The funny thing is I always wonder who is really in charge of watching and what would constitute “suspicious activity”. I do tell my immediate neighbors when we are out of town, especially if we have someone coming over to water the plants or something.

  32. Sydney says:

    Since none of them have faces, I used to have dreams about faceless men in fedoras chasing me down alleys. Nevermind that I had never been down an alley at age 6.

  33. Angela Fella says:

    I love the ‘watch for children’ sign, I used to think those signs were super profound when I was a kid. As I got older though I became enamored with the cougar crossing signs that they have in Florida.

    • mb says:

      I love the “slow children at play” signs. They really need better punctuation on those things!

    • Jennifer says:

      My husband and I have laughed for years at the signs that say:
      Children at Play
      Unless there are handicapped children in the area, the sign really announces that some slow adults made a bad sign.

      • Amanda says:

        My boyfriend loves that sign so much, he bought one to put in the house. My kids like to say they’re the slow child that the sign is referring to.

        We make fun of everybody in general, but nobody specifically except ourselves. So it’s okay.

  34. Melinda says:

    My two issues with sign when I was a kids were the “No Trucks Allowed” signs. I thought my Dad would get in trouble for driving down the tiny side street in his pick up truck not knowing they were for big semi-truck. Also, when the “Wrong Way” signs were visible from another on ramp I totally thought that we were going the wrong way. I freaked out one time.

  35. Kim says:

    I also find the “Expectant Mother’s Parking” signs quite silly with a stork on them…no ones told that story to their kid for 50 years!

  36. Holli says:

    Haha! So glad I wasn’t the only kid that thought he looked like the black spy from Spy Vs Spy.

  37. Cristal says:

    When I was a kid, the slippery roads sign freaked me out. There was only one near our town dump, and I thought it was a strange machine that essentially walked on curvy stilts and only worked at the dump. LOL

  38. Megan S says:

    Radom useless trivia: the watch signs with an eyeball (like this×12.aspx) were created by my mom in her teens (she’s 79 now). That and being in a commercial with Dolph Lundgren in the late 80’s are her claims to fame 🙂

  39. chelsea says:

    You are so right! I never thought about it until now!

  40. Sarah Almond says:

    That is funny! I’m not sure what’s funnier, this post or the comments!

  41. Camille Taylor says:

    My daughter swears it is a rat in the signs when we walk by them. I try to explain, but she is always right… The end.

  42. Mandy says:

    As a kid I was totally convinced those were pictures of the Boogeyman

  43. Heather says:

    In the mountains where I grew up there were “watch for falling rock” signs. My dad always told us they were for a lost indian girl named Falling Rock. I believed him a lot longer then I should have.

    • Dawn says:

      My dad did the same thing!!!! I believed him until I was 15 and he overheard me telling the story to a friend and had to correct me. Thanks Dad, those awkward teen years weren’t bad enough.

    • Amy says:

      Heh, my dad tells that same joke.

    • RedinNC says:

      Falling rock! I used to wonder how they had time to come out and put up a sign while the rock was falling. Shouldn’t they just let it fall then move it out of the road? Wouldn’t that be a lot more helpful?

  44. Jennie Leng says:

    In rural New Zealand we have signs that say “cattle Xing”. As a young girl I thought they were called “zings”, like xylophone. Now I have kids of my own I actually think that’s quite clever. 🙂

  45. Serena says:

    Try the no smoking sign. When my daughter was three she saw one in a restaurant and asked why trains weren’t allowed 🙂

  46. Claire says:

    The UK ones are different, but also outdated they show a smiley policeman, woman, man and girl all in old fashioned clothes

  47. Gracie says:
    this is australias one! i thought it didn’t exist anymore…. turns out i was wrong! its still going strong!
    we also have safety houses..? do u have that in the states..?

  48. Um, I was TERRIFIED of that sign when I was little. I thought that guy was looking in my window at night!

  49. Barbaram says:

    Love this!
    My son saw a no hitchhiking sign (crossed out thumbs up) and was indignant! “What?!? Mom! Why is there no ‘awesome’ allowed?!”
    They definitely have their moments!

  50. Nichole says:

    My son saw one in his grandmother’s neighborhood and said, “Bad guys aren’t allowed here.” I was really surprised that he figured that out from the picture.

  51. This reminds me that it’s really time to catch up on some Rocky and Bullwinkle.

  52. Connie C says:

    My husband has been teaching my 3 year old about the stop and go signals for pedestrians as “we should wait for the WHITE PERSON WALKING” sign. I’d like to add that we are Asian American btw.

  53. Elizabeth says:

    Actually, the ones around here have been replaced with a guy in a backwards baseball cap and (I think) a hoodie. Having such a symbol is very problematic for many reasons– and those problems aren’t solved by keeping the generalized “dangerous other” image up-to-date.

    I wonder what the Neighborhood Watch signs looked like in George Zimmerman’s neighborhood?

  54. Carrie says:

    Today while driving in a nearby town I noticed signs that prohibit littering. They are adorned with an elephant stepping on a beach ball. Naturally!

  55. Sharon says:

    Did you hear the “Deer Crossing” phone call to a radio station by an adult? If not check it out @ . Again, this is an adult!!! LOL

  56. jeri says:

    We don’t have signs like that in NYC because we’d have to have them in 17 languages. Plus the only cowboy we have is the Naked Cowboy (he’s got a website). But, oh boy, I’d love to see what your Crappy Family would say about him.

  57. donna says:

    Kids are just funny, and so literal. Many, many years ago as we were driving down the highway I noticed my 8 year old son frantically searching out the car window. Then he blurted out “Where are all the Indians? I want to see the Indians!” We finally saw the sign that said Stay off of the Meridian! Poor guy was so disappointed, he was sure he was going to see some Indians on horse back racing along next to us. He would have been 40 this year, has been gone for 10 years now and I can finally remember stories about him with love, not sorrow. Thanks for reminding me.

  58. Amanda says:

    At least all the rapists drive big cheesebox vans. That makes them easier to identify.

  59. Sara says:

    For some reason, my son seems to think the one in our neighborhood looks like a cat and wants to know why cats aren’t allowed in the neighborhood…

  60. Laura says:

    When my younger brother was about 7, we saw him start to take off his shirt and shoes in a lobby of a resteraunt where we were going to dinner. He thought the sign “No shirt, no shoes, No service” meant he wouldn’t get any service unless he had no shirt and no shoes!

  61. presephany says:

    My favourite sign (in Aus) is the ‘Slippery when wet sign’. How DO you get the tyres to cross like that?

  62. Johanna says:

    I remember in elementary school my younger sibs asking our mom what “a stranger” looked like. She said, “Your Principal.” It’s true, he wore amber tinted glasses, was always lurking in corners of the playground, had a tall but meekly stature, totes creepy.

  63. Brit says:

    This is THE BEST! I just died laughing haha. Thanks for this!

  64. Brit says:

    Discrimination against cowboys is a serious issue and I’m glad Crappy Baby pointed this out for us!

  65. Lori says:

    Unfortunately I don’t think there is a politically correct picture we could replace it with..

  66. Wait… The neighborhood watch sign guy is NOT the Hamburglar? Mind. Blown.

    I not only need a like button for this post, I need one for some of these comments. Love button would be better.

  67. Children deserve to be educated from the first time they ask about their bodies, that the neighbor and those within the family, too, are to behave in a respectful way. I never met a woman who was violated who said “I think a close family member or so-called friend will hurt me today.” There are red flags that are undeniable, and all children need that kind of awareness.

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