What is a Watch?
Neighbourhood Watch is a way of fostering a community spirit to help prevent crime and allay the fear of crime among residents in a particular road, a group of roads, a block of flats, an estate. Watches develop relationships between the local residents, the police and local authority. They also aim to improve the local environment by encouraging greater vigilance, improving home security, fostering a community spirit and working together to improve their environment.
Why have a Watch?
Levels of crime in a Watch area are known to decrease where the street signs and clearly visible stickers in householder’s windows are in place. Insurance companies generally will grant discounts for household cover ((home and contents) in active Watch areas. Residents are encouraged to act on anything suspicious they notice around them, often thus preventing their neighbours being burgled or some other crime being committed.
What does it involve?
Each Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is a community initiative run by local people. A volunteer resident acts as Co-ordinator to develop the scheme and liaise with the police. In the bigger watches, there are often street Co-ordinators for each road to help and support the watch Co-ordinator.
The Co-ordinator receives information and messages from the police and is responsible for passing it on to residents as appropriate. A Watch will only be successful if the residents understand and accept the need for all of them to be positively involved, to be constantly alert for suspicious activity, to observe and note as much as possible, to be ready to take action, and to be fully acquainted with what are the appropriate actions for circumstances.
- Dial 999 for actual or suspected criminal activity
- 101 for non-urgent matters
- Contact Watch Co-ordinator or assistant, for advice when in doubt
www.owl.co.uk is neighbourhood watch online. You can report concerns and also find out what is going on in the area and receive alerts. There is some good practical advice on crime.