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Neighbourhood Watch In The UK

Oct 23, 2007
Neighbourhood watch originates from the United States. Citizens of San Francisco were so desperate to reduce high crime rates that they decided to take action. The idea proved so successful that it spread to other American cities suffering from rising crime and violence.

The idea of neighbours banding together to beat crime captured the imagination of the UK population, though inevitably there were reservations. Some people felt that a successful watch would simply divert burglary to a nearby neighbourhood that had not yet taken steps to protect itself. Others feared it would mean vigilante style gangs roaming the streets, and innocent people having their privacy invaded by well meaning, if overenthusiastic, neighbours.

This, however, is not what neighbourhood watch, or home watch, as it is also called, is about. It's merely about neighbours keeping their eyes and ears open as they go about their daily business, and reporting anything suspicious to the police. Members work together with the assistance of a trained police officer. Under no circumstances are watch members encouraged to have a go, and put themselves at risk in a potentially dangerous situation.

Neighbourhood Watch was introduced to Great Britain in 1982, with the first scheme set up in the Cheshire stockbroker belt village of Mollington, following a spate of burglaries. Within just a few months the local burglary rate had dropped drastically, proving that Neighbourhood Watch could be a very effective tool in the fight against crime. As a result, with the support of police forces and the Home Office, Neighbourhood Watch schemes were set up all over the country, with numbers now totalling over 120,000.

A Neighbourhood Watch scheme is not a vigilante force. Members are simply asked to be alert, and to note discreetly any suspicious activity. A scheme should also teach members to be more security-conscious. The crime prevention officer may give a talk, show videos, or carry out home surveys to teach members how to improve their own home security.

He, or the local beat officer, may also loan security marking kits to the scheme to enable members to mark their valuables, and will also provide literature which explains Neighbourhood Watch, incident report cards and Neighbourhood Watch stickers which members display in their windows to indicate that they are security conscious.

Neighbourhood Watch areas are also identified by street signs displayed around the area which can be an effective deterrent. Again, the Crime Prevention Officer will be able to advise you on purchasing and erecting these signs.
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Archy Ash writes for Dvr Traders specialists in cctv dvr equipment at http://www.dvrtraders.co.uk
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