February Crime Prevention Blog

Neighbourhood Watch By Crime Prevention & Architectural Liaison Officer Gerry McBride

In my February blog I am discussing the Neighbourhood Watch scheme. It’s completely free of charge to join and to remain a member too!

The concept of Neighbourhood Watch came from the USA, where the first scheme was set up in 1964 by a community in New York. This was following a murder whereby neighbour inaction was thought to be a contributory factor in the death. Neighbourhood Watch came here to the UK in 1982, with the first scheme set up in Cheshire.

The movement grew quickly throughout the UK and Cleveland saw that growth too, with thousands of schemes registered across our four policing areas of Redcar & Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Hartlepool.

The aim of Neighbourhood Watch is to bring neighbours together to create strong, friendly, active communities where crime and antisocial behaviour are not tolerated and it is about making sure that no one has to feel afraid, vulnerable or isolated in the place where they live.

I have had a go at being a neighbourhood watch co-ordinator myself; I did the job for 15 years, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I must admit to being a big fan as I’ve seen first-hand the benefits that it can bring. I was part of a scheme that had just 26 houses in it, part of a much larger new housing estate. No one knew their neighbours, however, in a short space of time the neighbours all knew each other and it created a strong sense of community and a group of life-long friends who all still look out for each other.

So, this month, I’d like potential new co-ordinators and former co-ordinators to get in touch and either create, or perhaps revive, their scheme. Mike Barnes is the Executive Chair for the Cleveland Neighbourhood Watch Association, and I would encourage members to make contact with Mike and come together to regenerate the movement across our force area. Mike can be contacted on 07970 420278 e-mail address is [email protected].