How to Start a Neighbourhood Crime Watch
If you’re concerned about crime in your area, or just want that extra peace of mind, then a neighbourhood watch scheme is a good way to go. But how do you set one up? It may seem daunting at first, but it’s far from complicated and could benefit you and your neighbours in the long run. Read on as we explore the steps you need to take to set up your own neighbourhood crime watch.
Reduce crime rates by 16%
For those who aren’t familiar – a neighbourhood watch (NHW) scheme is a group of neighbours who look out for and report crime in their area. While you may assume neighbours would report anything suspicious, a NHW makes it much easier by forming a partnership with the police and having a clear process for reporting suspicious activity and remove the stigma of doing so.
This kind of group does more than just strengthen the sense of community too. Communities with a NHW see a 16% decrease in crime compared to similar areas with no NHW. They’re also a useful way to keep up to date with anything going on in your area, and can even reduce the cost of home insurance in some cases.
Setting Up a Neighbourhood Crime Watch
The first step in setting up your own NHW is to speak to your neighbours. Find out if they’re interested in an NHW and whether they would participate. A successful scheme depends on people getting involved, but doesn’t require all residents to participate. You just need enough people to look out for the neighbourhood and meet with the police.
This leads us to the next point. An effective NHW also requires communication with the police. Once you have a list of neighbours willing to get involved, contact your local police to inform them of your intentions. The Bermuda Police Service has Community Action Teams for the East, West and Centre who specifically work with the public.
Operating Your Scheme
Once your scheme is set up, it needs a coordinator. They will become the key contact for the police, members and the public should the scheme need to communicate with any of these groups. The police and all members should be made aware of your coordinator from the start, to avoid any confusion.
Finally, members should meet to discuss the following questions:
- Do you need an assistant coordinator?
- Should you have a committee for future decisions?
- What funding does the scheme need?
- How will it raise these funds?
- How will the NHW communicate with its members?
- How often will you meet – and where will you do so?
- How will the NHW communicate with the police?
- What is the process for new members?
Better Safe Than Sorry
Neighbourhood Watch schemes work well as a complement to existing security measures, but shouldn’t be relied upon solely. To protect your home and your family, you should also invest in comprehensive residential security.
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