Neighbourhood Watch Week this week

Neighbourhood Watch Week kicked off yesterday, Monday October 3, and will continue until Sunday during which police will be working with Neighbourhood Watch to raise awareness about local programs and how people can get involved.

Neighbourhood Watch is a community-based, crime prevention organisation that aims to reduce localised crime and fear of crime by promoting and coordinating approaches to crime prevention, problem solving and community engagement.

The NSW Police Force has proudly supported Neighbourhood Watch since its inception in 1984. The program is one of a range of crime prevention and community safety strategies currently in use within NSW.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Carlene York said Neighbourhood Watch Week is about interacting with the community to raise awareness about what local programs aim to achieve and how they can benefit residents.

“Neighbourhood Watch has a nearly 30-year history throughout Australia, during which police have continued to work closely with them to encourage greater engagement between members of the community,” Acting Deputy Commissioner York said.

“The program aims to prevent crime, reduce social isolation and improve the overall safety, security and quality of life for everyone in the community.

“Another important part of Neighbourhood Watch is helping people feel more connected and therefore more supported within their local area. Acting Deputy Commissioner York said.

“By reaching out to your neighbour or joining your local program, you may help reduce preventable crime by reporting suspicious activity that police can utilise during an investigation.

“This not only applies to crimes like malicious damage or theft, but may also prove pivotal in terms of reporting incidents of domestic violence, or recognising properties that may be involved in the manufacture of illegal drugs,” Acting Deputy Commissioner York said.

“Police, together with the support of local residents and Neighbourhood Watch, can affect real change in making our communities a safer place.”

Neighbourhood Watch Australasia CEO Ingrid Stonhill said while Neighbourhood Watch Week celebrates the extensive support for Neighbourhood Watch across Australia, it’s also an awareness campaign to highlight further goals we’re aiming to achieve.

“We know police cannot control crime singlehandedly, but community members can contribute significantly to community policing programs by joining or starting up a local Neighbourhood Watch program,” Ms Stonhill said.

“Neighbourhood Watch programs have evolved to be incredibly diverse; however, crime prevention and community safety remain at its core.

“Starting a local program is as simple as inviting interested neighbours to a gathering to introduce yourself, talk about the issues that are of concern and encourage discussion on how they may be resolved,” Ms Stonhill said.

“These programs act as an avenue to encourage neighbours to connect to neighbours. Being connected in your neighbourhood can also address social isolation and the adverse impacts on general health and wellbeing of individuals, and the community as a whole.”

For further information regarding Neighbourhood Watch, or to find out how you can join a local program, please visit:http://www.nhwa.com.au/