Play your part in helping your local police fight crime by joining the growing number of people who support Neighbourhood Watch schemes throughout the county. Neighbourhood Watch is one of the biggest and most successful crime prevention initiatives in Lancashire.
What is Neighbourhood Watch?
Neighbourhood Watch involves people getting together with their neighbours to work in an active partnership with the Police to prevent crime.
Neighbourhood Watch schemes can:
- cut crime and the opportunities for crime
- help and reassure those who live in fear of crime
- encourage neighbourliness and closer communities
In Lancashire, there are now 1, 970 registered Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinators covering 97, 000 residential properties.
How do Neighbourhood Schemes work?
Neighbourhood Watch schemes can be large, covering, for example most of the households on an estate or they might involve just a half a dozen houses. It depends on the area and what people living there want.
A scheme is generally led by a volunteer co-ordinator whose job is to get people working together and make sure things get done. As well as the co-ordinator, there is usually a committee. Committees meet regularly to plan which problems to target and what action to take. Schemes keep in close touch with local police to share information and advice.
What can Neighbourhood Watch Schemes do?
Neighbourhood Watch schemes, in consultation with the local Police, target local crime problems and take action to prevent them by following 6 key steps:
- Get a picture of local crime
- Conduct a fear of crime survey
- Target crimes you can have a real impact on
- Identify the opportunities for crime
- Form an action plan to tackle the problem
- Block or reduce opportunities for the criminal
Most crime is opportunist, committed on the spur of the moment, or when a car or house is left unlocked. This means there is enormous scope for reducing chances for criminals.
Traditional Neighbourhood Watch activity has focused on the immediate vicinity of homes, with members looking out for anything suspicious, or helping their neighbours as necessary. However, more and more schemes are broadening their range of work.
Targeting local problems such as graffiti are well within the scope of a well organised Neighbourhood Watch scheme. People may be able to take action themselves, such as fitting more secure door and window locks in vulnerable homes. It may mean lobbying your local authority, for example, to improve the street lighting on your estate or to step up the security of a communal entrance.
To help reduce the fear of crime, many schemes now work in partnership with other agencies like Lancashire Constabulary , Victim Support , Age UK and Lancashire Trading Standards.
What are the benefits of a Neighbourhood Watch?
Neighbourhood Watch is not just about reducing burglary figures. It is about creating communities who care and creating a better place to live, work and play.
Neighbourhood Watch schemes brings local people together by fostering a new community spirit and a belief in the community's ability to tackle problems by working together. At the same time, people feel secure, knowing their neighbours are keeping an eye on their property.
By taking part in a Neighbourhood Watch schemes people become familiar with crime prevention ideas which will help keep their home and belongings safe. It might even mean that you can get a premium discount from your insurance company.