Neighbourhood Watch is a partnership where people come together to make their communities safer. It involves the police, community safety departments of local authorities, other voluntary organisations and, above all, individuals and families who want to make their neighbourhoods better places to live. It aims to help people protect themselves and their properties and to reduce the fear of crime by means of improved home security, greater vigilance, accurate reporting of suspicious incidents to the police and by fostering a community spirit.
OTRA Neighbourhood Watch
We have recently been in contact with local police who have advised us that the traditional NW scheme is less viable these days, and that informing the police and social media (such as the OTRA forum) are the most useful courses of action. Reporting and reading the reports on the forum can be very helpful in identifying patterns or finding potential witnesses who saw anyone suspicious around a particular date or location. Please note, the neighbourhood watch forum is useful for the community to warn each other, but is not a substitute for actually reporting crime.
All neighbourhood watch bulletins are available for members of OTRA in the forum section, to read or to report incidents. In order to view these you do need to be a member of OTRA and logged in – you can register here. If you do not have an e-mail address you may wish to ask a friend or neighbour to provide you with copies of reports. If in any doubt how to use the forum, please feel free to contact our support either by email or telephone. See here.
Prevention and Observation
Burglar alarms can obviously be a deterrent, but most useful when neighbours pay attention of course. They can work best in conjunction with keyholds schemes whereby neighbours are notified when an alarm is tripped. Alternatively (but more expensive) ais direct police monitoring.
Many people use time switches to activate lights when on holiday. While this can be useful, it can be a double edged sword if the activation is the exact same time every day, as potential thief casing the joint over a couple of days can easily tell it is a time switch. It is better to use something random or that can be remotely activated. For example if you have an internet connection you can get lightbulbs that can be switched on or off wirelessly via an app.
CCTV can be very useful both as a deterrent or as a witness.
Security lights can also be a deterrent. Please be aware of light pollution, energy consumption or annoyance to neighbours. There is no need to make them too bright or stay on for too long.
And don’t forget the good old fashioned human being – a house sitter or neighbour popping round now and again.
- To prevent crime by improving security, increasing vigilance, creating and maintaining a caring community and reducing opportunities for crime by increasing crime prevention awareness.
- To assist the police in detecting crime by promoting effective communication and the prompt reporting of suspicious and criminal activity.
- To reduce undue fear of crime by providing accurate information about risks and by promoting a sense of security and community spirit, particularly amongst the more vulnerable members of the community.
- To improve police/community liaison by providing effective communications systems which enable co-ordinators to be informed promptly of local crime trends which they can disseminate to their scheme members.