In these day of everything going digital, does the Neighbourhood Watch still have a role to play?
Neighbourhood Watch can provide security and assurance that nothing online can offer.
The Neighbourhood Watch scheme began in the United Kingdom in 1982 and is a partnership intended to bring people together to make their communities safer. It involves the police, Community Safety departments of local authorities, other voluntary organisations and individuals and families who want to make their neighbourhoods better places to live. It aims to help people protect themselves and their properties and to reduce the fear of crime by means of improved home security, greater vigilance, accurate reporting of suspicious incidents to the police and by fostering a community spirit. It is claimed that over 3.8 million households are covered by a neighbourhood watch.
Objectives of Neighbourhood Watch
- To improve community safety generally including e.g. fire safety
- To prevent crime by improving security, increasing vigilance, creating and maintaining a caring community and reducing opportunities for crime by increasing crime prevention awareness.
- To assist the police in detecting crime by promoting effective communication and the prompt reporting of suspicious and criminal activity.
- To reduce undue fear of crime by providing accurate information about risks and by promoting a sense of security and community spirit, particularly amongst the more vulnerable members of the community.
- To improve police/community liaison by providing effective communications through Neighbourhood Watch messaging systems which warn Coordinators of local crime trends which they can disseminate to their scheme members, and by members informing the police of incidents when they occur.
Neighbourhood Watch schemes are run by their members through a coordinator and are supported by the police and in many divisions, a local Neighbourhood Watch Association.
A volunteer resident coordinator supervises the scheme and liaises with the police, they receive information and messages to keep them in touch with activities and some have marker kits, alarms and other security items, which are available to members. The schemes are a community initiative, which is supported by the police, not run by them, so success depends on what the members make of it.
Do Neighbourhood Watches Help to Reduce Door-to-Door Scammers?
The anecdotal evidence is that they do reduce this type of crime. This is largely because people are more aware of possible crimes and do keep an eye out for unexpected visitors to their doors. Also, door-to-door crooks tend to avoid areas where there are any signs of organisation against crime and Neighbourhood Watch areas are usually identifiable by stickers on homes and buildings.
If there is a Neighbourhood Watch in your area, then consider joining.
If there isn’t one, then consider starting one.
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