In 1964, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was stabbed in New York outside her apartment. Two weeks after her murder it was rumored that 38 witnesses saw or heard the attack, but none of them called the police or came to her aid. This motivated a community response and the very first Neighbourhood Watch scheme was set up in New York. This neighbourly approach grew and grew across the USA and in1982 the first UK scheme was set up in Mollington, Cheshire.
Police Forces across Britain began establishing these new neighbour networks. From then Neighbourhood Watch has grown from strength to strength. Neighbourhood Watch representatives formed local and wider, structured groups.
From 1992 the CID at Thorpe Wood Police Station took the lead for Peterborough with Detective Sgt Graham Boon tasked to set Neighbourhood Watch rolling across all of the Peterborough area. The very first local Neighbourhood Watch was set up in the New England area of Peterborough.
Retired Detective Sergeant Graham Boon said, “It was a busy time when I started with the Watch scheme all those years ago, all our meetings were full. It still applies today after 40 years, recent times have shown how knowing your neighbours is a good thing, good for you and good for the neighbourhood.”
The focus was on building local Neighbourhood community groups which consulted with the police and focused on reducing burglary and other home and personal crimes. At the heart of Neighbourhood watch was the local beat officer who had the role to engage and work with street coordinators when addressing local issues such as anti-social behavior and reporting suspicious behavior. Armed with knowledge of local crime from officers these new Neighbourhood Watch groups increased their own crime prevention measures and became involved in an arrange of crime prevention initiatives. Research in the 90’s showed that an active neighbourhood watch can reduce crime by 26%.
Peterborough people took Neighbourhood Watch seriously and established hundreds of Watch groups across many parts of the Peterborough area.
By 1992 the challenge for the police was helping to run so many Watch groups, this led to the late Chief Inspector Alan Daff setting up the first Neighbourhood Watch Association aimed at mobilizing senior Watch Street coordinators to take an active role in managing the popular scheme. The Association was born on July 1992 and has continued in its role ever since much to the benefit of communities across the Peterborough area.
Neighbourhood Watch was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award in 2012. The network has the largest number of volunteers across the UK.
Currently, the Peterborough Association’s Action Group meet with the police every six weeks to discuss crime affecting local communities, work on joint preventative initiatives, identify any successes, they highlight any recent concerns from the different communities. The group consists of fifteen street coordinators from across Peterborough.
The Peterborough area currently has 274 Neighbourhood watches each with its own street coordinator. On average each Watch will have 20 household members making the estimated membership 5480. We have some whole villages registered as a neighbourhood village watch.
There are fourteen area coordinators and 12 deputy coordinators.
Not all areas of the city and villages have their own Watch groups, everyone from all our communities are welcome to join. Simply register on the website www.ourwatch.org.uk/join
You can join your nearest Watch or set up your own.
Local help and advice are available from the Action Group –
the Peterborough Neighbourhood Watch line is 0 74 74 002 392
or by e mailing your local team on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chief Constable, Nick Dean said,
“Neighbourhood Watch is still as relevant today as it was 40 years ago – members are at the heart of our communities and know what happens in each neighbourhood, which is a vital support to policing across the county.
“We do not underestimate the value in having such close links with our local schemes which provides a way for people to pass information on to us and enables us to feedback on what we are doing to tackle issues of most concern. There have been many occasions where we have called upon our co-ordinators to help us deliver important messaging, share crime alerts, and request information.
“I am hugely grateful for the continued support from everyone involved with Neighbourhood Watch in ensuring it continues to thrive in Cambridgeshire.”
Peterborough’s Neighbourhood Watch Ambassador City Councilor Chris Burbage said,
“2022 sees a milestone year for Neighbourhood Watch in the UK as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. Here in Peterborough, we also celebrate our 30th year of our very own Association for members. Over those years we have gone from strength to strength, promoting neighbourly values, looking after one another and of course working to make our communities safer and more resilient to crime”
The benefits of living in a Neighbourhood watch area include –
- Living in a friendly and neighbourly street.
- Knowing there is someone to help if you need it.
- Access to some discounted home insurance.
- Helping to keep the Watch active reduces crime.
- Research shows that living in a connected and neighbourly community is good for your health.
- Being part of a wider network where you can access guidance and information on a range of safety matters.
- Having your own point of contact, your own street coordinator.
- Access to the Peterborough Neighbourhood Watch shop with special discount for members.
- Clear links to your Neighbourhood police teams.
- Receive information on local crime and safety issues.
Alan Paul the Association chair said,
“Peterborough has benefitted with a long tradition of having active neighbourhood watches. It works, it makes so much sense and the results speak for themselves.”
- There are 2.4 million members across the UK
- Membership increased by 25% in some areas of the UK at the start of the Covid pandemic.
- Membership is free.
- Membership is open to all.
- Street coordinators are subject to a police check.
- The Peterborough Association, the Cambs County Association, and the National London office of NNNW provide support and guidance.
- Websites with more information –
You can have your own neighbour network see www.ourwatch.org.uk/join
Images supplied; –
- National 40th Anniversary of Neighbourhood Watch
- Peterborough Neighbourhood Watch Association 30th Anniversary
- Queens Jubilee Award 2012
- Old Press cutting- death of founder of Association the late Chief Inspector Alan Daff
- Old Press cutting- launch of the Peterborough Neighbourhood Watch Association July 1992
- Document – ‘Active Neighbourhood Watch Peterborough.’ Shows latest listing of positive outcomes from neighbourhood watch across Peterborough.
- Photos of recent new Watch schemes.