The Neighbourhood Watch scheme has an alliance with the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) to help keep local communities safe. The scheme, which originated in New York in 1964 and was introduced to the UK in 1982, works to reduce crimes such as burglary and anti-social behaviour.
It is a voluntary grassroots movement with over 2.3 million members in England and Wales. As well as crime prevention, the volunteer Associations work to promote neighbourliness, community spirit, and inclusiveness. Here are five great benefits of being a member of the movement.
- It helps to form a stronger relationship with the police in your local area. Neighbourhood Watch has representation in the police force from a local to national level. They often collaborate on issues such as home security to prevent methods of break-ins which are prevalent in a particular area.
- The scheme regularly gives out up-to-date advice on how to keep your property safe and secure. On its website, you will find crime prevention toolkits with tips such as installing double or deadlocks on doors, and window locks. It recommends using licenced locksmiths to carry out improvements.
Members also run community and school crime prevention workshops, distribute video doorbells or CCTV cameras to the most vulnerable, and help to keep the streets clean. They even provide free meals for children during the school holidays!
- Members are encouraged to look out for people who may be lonely or vulnerable, which is now more important than ever. As well as helping to improve the quality of life of an isolated person, it reduces the risk of them becoming victims of scams or financial abuse by family members.
The scheme also works to help prevent youth isolation, domestic abuse, forced marriage, and terrorism. It offers advice on how to spot signs and talk to potential victims, as well as information campaigns such as leaflets and social media posts.
- Knowing your neighbours means you can ask them to keep an eye on your home while you are away. In the year ending March 2020, there were 356,017 recorded burglaries in England and Wales. An obviously unoccupied home is an easy target.
A neighbour can check if burglary prevention methods such as timed light switches are working, or just pop in each day to open and draw the curtains. If there is damage caused by an attempted or actual break-in, they can call out a local locksmith on your behalf to carry out repairs.
- It reduces crimes in your area. Neighbourhood Watch creates community spirit, as members look out for each other and pass on information to the police about local crimes. It helps to prevent anti-social behaviour and reduces fear of crime, making your local community a happier and safer place to live.
Joining a Neighbourhood Watch scheme is easy and free. You can sign up via their website, by searching with your postcode for your local scheme. If there isn’t one, you can set one up yourself, or speak to your local Area Representative for advice.