NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH – WHY BOTHER?
Sometimes I am asked what Neighbourhood Watch does, at other times people want to know how many hours a week I dedicate to Neighbourhood Watch but recently I was asked something I had not been asked before – why – “Why do you do it?” a friend asked me. So here’s why:
My personal philosophy on life is,
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate and to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.”
Leaving aside altruism, personal aims & satisfaction, love of community, delight in the friendships made, etc. – from the point of view of the scheme’s effectiveness – why bother? Why bother doing Neighbourhood Watch at all?
Well, in a nutshell, because it works.
UK statistics show that Neighbourhood Watch members in active schemes, who follow crime prevention advice, are 68 times less likely to be a burglary victim.
UK Insurance industry statistics show that houses in active Neighbourhood Watch schemes have a 1 in 344 chance of being burgled compared to a national average of 1 in 20 if you are not in an active NHW scheme.
Those residents in an active NHW scheme who follow crime prevention advice, in putting the correct locks on their windows and doors etc. reduce the chance of being burgled to 1 in 1350.
Across the pond in the USA a recent study by the Dept. of Justice showed that “in the majority of evaluations NHW was associated with a reduction in crime and therefore appeared to be effective.”
Add to this reducing the fear of crime in local residents by providing them with facts and figures about the actual crime happening in their area while giving them ‘tools’ with which to improve their security and personal safety… and you have a purpose well worth dedicating a few hours per week to.
So yes, the fact that several 1000 of our residents are less likely to become victims of crimes such as burglaries thanks primarily to the work of the lovely people at our Police Station and thanks in part to our group’s efforts, is very satisfying indeed.