What is a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme?
It is all about neighbours getting together to share information and foster trust and community spirit.Neighbourhood Watch can ensure that everybody looks out for each other. Neighbourhood Watch schemes can vary in size from a block of flats, a few houses, even to an entire estate. A scheme is administered by a volunteer co-ordinator, who is the main contact link between the members and the police. This is not an onerous task, as each scheme is as busy and time consuming as it wants to be. In some cases it has been very instrumental in bringing neighbours closer together, enhancing the quality of life for all.
The success of any scheme, whether large or small, in a road,town or village, is to reduce the opportunities of crime and fear of crime.
The main aims of Neighbourhood Watch schemes are:
- To enable members to reduce the opportunities for crime and to make it more difficult for the criminal to be active in their neighbourhood.
- To demonstrate means of protecting properties by improving home security, thus reducing the incidence of crime.
- To pass on crime information or important messages from the police or NHW.
- The production and distribution of newsletters also spreads the word and can contain helpful advice to allow people to enjoy a life with less fear of crime.
How to set up a scheme:
- Personally visit your neighbours asking if they would like to join a new Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
- Make a list of all potential members who are interested with their details: names, address, telephone numbers and email addresses.
- Arrange a “Start Up” meeting in someone’s home or other appropriate venue and contact either (this varies according to Counties and Areas of Thames Valley) the Chair of the Association within your Area, or the Area Co-ordinator or the Neighbourhood Watch Office.
- Appoint a co-ordinator and a deputy, perhaps you may even obtain several people who would agree to be link people, to help generally or cover in your absence whilst on holiday or ill.
- Find a suitable position to place your NHW signs and obtain permission in order to erect on lamp post/ telegraph pole or for those living in the country a wall or tree in someone’s garden!
- Use the web to look at www.ourwatch.org.uk.