Watching out for your neighbours

The police tell us that community safety is up to all of us, not just the men and women in uniform. That’s the idea behind Neighbourhood Watch, a proven program for reducing break-ins and other neighbourhood crime.

  • The strategy is simple: residents simply look out for each other and for any suspicious activities. Your police department will assess your community needs and help you set up the program. The neighbours decide on which one of them will be the contact for the police. But all you really have to do is be alert to what’s going on in your neighbourhood.

  • If you see a stranger in the neighbourhood, ask if you can be of help or what they’re looking for. If burglars are casing the area, the questions might be enough to scare them off.

  • If you spot anything unusual or potentially threatening, notify your neighbours and the police. It’s still up to the police to confront suspidous individuals and make any necessary arrests.

  • When you set up a Neighbourhood Watch program a notice is posted in your neighbourhood and the houses get stickers to put up. This can also make intruders think twice about targeting your neighbourhood, and it ates an atmosphere of community spirit.

  • For the Neighbourhood Watch program in some big cities, there’s a computer system called PC Cops. This system lets a computer contact your Neighbourhood Watch representative on the phone with updates and information on local crime. It’s very useful if there’s a prowler or attacker at work in your area. It’s a fairly new concept, so check with your local police department.

  • For general crime prevention advice, take advantage of your police department. They’ll send a crime prevention officer to your area, apartment building, or place of business to make a crime risk assessment and suggest ways to improve security. All it takes is a phone call and it doesn’t cost anything.

  • If you really want to be neighbourly, here’s an idea for maintaining security when your house is empty. Burglars often ring the bell to see if anyone’s home. If you’re away for long periods, talk to your next door neighbour about installing an inexpensive remote doorbell transmitter, so the bell will ring in the next house. This way; if a burglar rings the bell of a vacant house, the neighbour can look out the window or door and see who’s there. No burglar wants to be seen. It’s a bit of an unusual idea, but, hey, what are neighbours for!

  • Courtesy The McLennan Group.