Neighbourhood Watch

What Is Neighbourhood Watch?

Neighbourhood Watch is one of the biggest and most successful crime prevention initiatives ever.

Neighbourhood Watch (or Home Watch as it is known in some areas) is all about an active partnership with the police.

Neighbourhood Watch schemes can:

• Cut crime and the opportunities for crime
• Help and reassure those who live in the area
• Encourage neighbourliness and closer communities.

How Does It Work?

Neighbourhood Watch schemes can be large, covering whole estates, or they might involve just a few houses. It depends on the area and what people living there want.

A scheme is generally led by a volunteer coordinator whose job is to get people working together and make sure things get done.

Schemes keep in close touch with local police to share information and advice.

What can Neighbourhood Watch schemes do?

They can target local crime problems and take action to prevent them. Schemes should find out from local people what most concerns them and focus on a specific problem. These are the key steps to targeting and reducing crime and the fear of crime in an area.

In consultation with your local police:

• Get a picture of local crime
• Conduct a "fear of crime" survey
• Target certain crimes
• Identify the opportunities for crime
• Form an action plan to tackle the problems
• Block or reduce opportunities for the criminals

An active Partnership with the Police

Watch schemes are not police-run groups. But to be truly effective against crime, they need to plan action in co-operation with the police (or other agency such as the local authority). It is essential to establish a close working relationship with your local police, and to share with them all information relating to crime and other incidents in your area.

How much should I do?

It's entirely up to you. Some people have more free time than others, and may want to take a very active role as a coordinator of a local Watch scheme.

  • You may know something about marketing or communications, and volunteer to write and distribute newsletters, or publicise your local scheme's activities.
  • You may be in business locally and know of avenues to seek sponsorship for Watch activities.
  • Or your part may be as simple as keeping a look out while your neighbour is on holiday, making sure there are no tell-tale signs such as milk left on a doorstep that would attract a burglar.

Everyone can do something that will really make a difference.

How can I set up a Scheme?

If you want to start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, join one already operating in your road, or find out more about how Neighbourhood Watch works, please contact the Community Safety team, 01494 586535, communitysafety@chiltern.gov.uk