People join Neighbourhood Watch to make the areas where they live safe, friendly and pleasant places to be - and it works.
The old stereotype of the Neighbourhood Watch curtain twitcher is wrong for one very simple reason: it implies fear. Neighbourhood Watch is about the opposite: making sure that no one has to feel afraid, vulnerable or isolated in the place where they live. It's about people looking out for each other, crossing barriers of age, race and class to create real communities that benefit everyone.
To explode another myth, Neighbourhood Watch groups are owned and run by the people of their communities, not the police. The most impressive Neighbourhood Watch achievements result from members looking closely at the needs of their communities and meeting them with innovative and creative thinking.
How does Neighbourhood Watch work?
Residents in a street simply decide to set up a scheme. You can easily check whether there is already a scheme near you by entering your postcode at www.sussexnwfed.org.uk. If there is, then you can click on the scheme name in the right hand column, and get in touch with the local co-ordinator, who will be pleased to help you – scroll down the page to send a message.
If you would like to start a new scheme then all it takes is for one person to go to www.sussexnwfed.org.uk, click on Menu and then click on Join us. Follow the simple prompts to register, and then also to start setting up the scheme. We will then contact you to help set things up. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to just receive crime and other key messages from Neighbourhood Watch and our partners then simply register in a similar way.
What is involved?
Once the scheme is in operation, residents go about their normal lives using their eyes and ears, talk to each other and liaise with their local policing team contacts. You will probably be surprised how friendly everybody becomes, and how quickly you can spot unusual activity.
In Sussex, Neighbourhood Watch has the following main objectives:
- To reduce 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 the fear of crime - by providing accurate information about risks, and by promoting a sense of security and community spirit, particularly amongst those most at risk.
- To improve police/community liaison - by providing effective means to notify co-ordinators and key contacts of local crime trends, and by members advising the police of incidents when they occur.
- To increase community safety - by providing safety information from other partners such as Action Fraud, Trading Standards and the Fire & Rescue Service.
Some insurers offer reductions in premiums for:
- Additional door and window locks
- Neighbourhood Watch membership
Contact your insurer and see if you are eligible as a member of Neighbourhood Watch for any discounts.
Neighbourhood Watch and Sussex Police partnership
It is important that issues are addressed locally to find local solutions. The working partnership between Sussex Police and Neighbourhood Watch offers the opportunity for this to happen at grass root levels. Local policing teams attend meetings in communities where possible and are always approachable about neighbourhood concerns. For more information on how to contact your local policing teams, please search under your district on sussex.police.uk
In addition to meetings, if you are a co-ordinator or key contact for Neighbourhood Watch and have e-mail, you will also receive local crime messages from Sussex Police and other key partners.
You can also sign up to In the Know to find out what is happening in your area - witness appeals, crime updates, crime prevention advice and news.
The Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation, set up in 1995 with the full support of Sussex Police, and now also with support from the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, acts as a forum, co-ordinates resources, provides help to its members and helps to share good practice across the county, as well as seeking to raise the profile of Neighbourhood Watch. It also represents the views of our members to the South East Regional Forum, and where necessary to national Neighbourhood Watch.
The main purposes of Neighbourhood Watch are to promote good citizenship and greater public awareness through Neighbourhood Watch groups, increase public participation in the prevention and detection of crime, reduce the fear of crime, improve police/community liaison and increase public and community safety.
Neighbourhood Watch is a "grass roots" organisation, run by its members for its members and is one of the UK's largest voluntary organisations. Anybody can join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Usually residents in a neighbourhood who support the aims and objectives of Neighbourhood Watch agree amongst each other that they will come together and form a local scheme, with the support of Sussex Police. This might be one or two streets in a town, or even part of a street, or it could be an entire village. The Federation maintains the Sussex Neighbourhood Watch register of all recognised schemes, and in partnership with Sussex Police conducts suitability checks on any new applicants who would like to volunteer to become a local co-ordinators or contacts.