Who’s watching your Neighbourhood?

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POLICE are encouraging local residents to consider a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme for their own community.

Neighbourhood Watch is a partnership between local communities, PSNI and Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs). The schemes aim to help people protect themselves and their property and to reduce the fear of crime.

Mrs Michelle Wilson, Crime Prevention Officer for Banbridge and Craigavon, said, “Neighbourhood Watch Schemes can make a real difference to people’s lives and can help residents feel safer in their own homes.

“In established schemes we have seen an improvement in the safety of communities and community spirit and also seen an increase in cooperation between police and local residents.

“The schemes also help police detect more crime through an increase in the reporting of suspicious and criminal activity in a timely manner.

“Neighbourhood Watch encourages people to be vigilant of crime and also provides a visible sign that members of a community are looking out for each other.”

Anyone can belong to a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and play a part in its achievements. A scheme can cover just one street or part or all of an estate and requires a Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator. The coordinator acts as a link between the community and local police and they are the first point of contact for all members of the scheme and receive and distribute information.

Michelle continued: “Everyone involved in Neighbourhood Watch plays an important part in making their area a safer, more friendly and pleasant place to live. By working together neighbours can help to reduce all sorts of crime and antisocial behaviour.

“Neighbourhood Watch brings people closer together and helps to develop a stronger community spirit. It promotes confidence within communities that something positive is being done to prevent local crime and improve the quality of life in the area.”

If you are interested in introducing a NHW scheme into your area please contact your local crime prevention officer on 0845 600 8000.