The thought of having to look over your shoulder each and every time you are in your neighbourhood is nothing short of catastrophic. This is true in numerous locations thanks to the increased rates of crime. It is all bad news because this does not only lead to loss of property, but can threaten your life as well.
What if I told you that there is a way you can effectively help to combat vandalism, burglary, and theft in your vicinity? Read on to know how you and your neighbours can team up to ensure that everyone feels safe when they are at home. This way, you will not be setting up a will for the wrong reasons, such as you are afraid of what criminals may do to you.
Becoming a member of a neighbourhood watch scheme is one of the ways to help make your streets a lot safer. What’s a scheme may be the question running in your mind at this point.
It is a local initiative that encourages neighbours to be vigilant as you look out for each other and report any suspicious activities. This can work in an entire village, estate or in smaller sections such as three or four residential streets. To date, there are about 150,000 schemes in the UK involving millions of people. It is typically made up of several parties that include:
• The Police.
• Voluntary organizations.
• Community safety department.
• Individuals and families whose wish is to live in safer neighbourhoods.
If you would like to be part of such as neighbourhood scheme, the first step would be to check if there is an existing one. If there is none, it is time to set one up. Before implementing anything you will automatically ask the question of how to set up a neighbourhood watch?
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You have come to the right place because I have come up with a comprehensive guide that will help you to identify the proper steps on how to set up a neighbourhood watch.
Identify the Group to Work with
Ideally, you want to work with the first 20 homes that are near your place. This can always change when the neighbourhood watch program grows. You can opt to take up the role of block captain (leader of the scheme), or wait until you hold the first meeting to elect one. This is the person who acts as the spokesperson for the group and leads in all the activities that the group will be taking on. During this step, you will also need to conduct in-depth research on how to set up an association UK to have all the facts that you need for the scheme.
Talk To Your Neighbours
Because you will not be undertaking the project alone, it is best to talk to your neighbours when you have plans to set up an event for watching the neighbourhood. Do this as soon as possible to get a quorum that will help run the neighbourhood program. You will probably get a few individuals on your side, and the numbers can continue to grow in the later dates. There are different ways to do this such as:
• Approaching people on the streets.
• Holding a survey.
• Going door to door.
• Using leaflets and posters, etc.
Understand that not everyone may want to jump into the idea right away. Do not force people to join you. Let them do so voluntarily.
Visit the Local Police Station
To run a successful neighbourhood watch, you have to collaborate with the local police officers. These are professionals who have the proper training and skills to handle all matters pertaining to security, thus they will be very instrumental in making sure that the start-up scheme picks up and offers the results you want.
The stations are also helpful in that they dispatch a crime reduction officer to the inaugural meeting for the up scheme to guide you on how to move forward. This is welcome because it helps to inject a sense of authority making sure that the group does not exist in isolation. The police will also help with different materials that will help with the neighbourhood watch rules and regulations to help in doing things right.
Organize the First Meeting
For this, you will need to be well prepared, so that you can generate plenty of interest in the concept. Look up information about similar programs and explain to people what to expect with this type of scheme. At the end of the day, it is best to present something that participants will be proud to be part of.
Identify the crime patterns that happen in your area and other nearby locations. This will help you to come up with plans that can nip this in the bud fast.
Open up discussions for the up watch to get as many practical neighbourhood watch ideas as possible to start off on the right foot. You can hold this at a community center, religious center, designated home, or even a pub.
A police representative should be present to explain everything members need to know on the topic of how does a neighbourhood watch work? When everything is clear, you can set up a follow-up meeting that will set things in motion. You should also make sure that everyone knows their roles before you hit the ground running with the scheme do.
One of the activities that the groups can take up is a neighbourhood patrol just to make sure that things are in order around the place for you. This is very important because it can help spot any uncommon activities fast. Criminals will most likely not stick around in a place that has frequent patrols.
How big a neighbourhood is will determine the number of people who will go on the patrol. If the area is relatively small, less than 5 people can handle the job. You can have a duty roster to ensure that everyone does their fair share of work. Items that individuals can carry during the “stake out” may include:
• A whistle.
• First aid kit.
• Pepper spray.
• A log book that will have details of any activities that may seem a bit off.
• A phone to call 911.
Keep in mind that patrols can be done on a vehicle if walking is not appropriate.
Maintaining the Neighbourhood Watch
There is no need of starting a neighbourhood watch UK that will only last a few weeks before it dies. The leader and everyone involved should come up with ways to motivate members to stay put. Examples of things that can add a little bit of excitement to the watch up are:
• Allocating some socializing time during the meeting.
• Working with existing organizations that can help with the agenda of your group.
• Look for professional speakers who can tackle topics that interest the communities.
• Link crime prevention into other activities that other groups promote, such as arson prevention, child protection, and anti-vandalism projects. These are things that add value to the community. The group can also include some recreational activities that will have neighbours put their hair down.
• Have a newsletter or some other form of communication that will give people updates about things that concern their community.
• Gather materials that will push the agenda of how the scheme works. These can consist of magnetic car signs, home window seals, and plastic or metal road signs. Order these from The National Sheriffs Association or from other Neighbourhood Watch Organizations in the country.
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Learn to Handle New Security Issues as they come
In some cases, the security concerns that you start tackling may not be the same ones that you will be handling in the coming days. As a group, you need to be flexible enough to learn how to deal with any new challenges as they arise.
The main aim of the watch scheme should be to address the needs of the community in a timely manner. If nothing new seems to come up, you can always do something extra to increase your points. This can include stuff like getting rid of abandoned vehicles in lots and clearing unnecessary bushes that make it easier for criminals to commit crimes.
The neighbours can also conduct safety audits at their individual homes to put up any upgrades that help keep burglars out of their property.
What do the Neighbourhood Watches Achieve?
A neighbourhood watch can bring about multiple positive effects in a neighbourhood. Some of these are listed below:
I. Enhance the safety of an area.
II. Increasing vigilance which consequently improves security by reducing crime opportunities.
III. Help the police to detect crime fast by promoting communication between locals and the professionals.
IV. Create a caring community that looks out for each other.
Preventing crime takes teamwork. Going through the above piece, I hope you have picked up crucial points on what is neighbourhood watch, and how easy it is to set up one in the right way. To take things a notch higher, you can work with an expert and reputable security company such as Mec Security that offers various expert services including security dog patrols and CCTV installation, among others to make certain that your neighbourhood is safe.
Featured Image Source: Flickr, Geograph