Wagtail Close Neighbourhood Watch Scheme was launched in March 2019 and shortly had all but one household sign up. Building on the interest generated by starting the Wagtail Close scheme, several other schemes in Moulton Leys, Northampton began with their own Coordinators.
Each scheme has at least two Neighbourhood Watch lampposts signs on display, and members are provided with Neighbourhood Watch window stickers and material on how to start their Neighbourhood Watch journey, the benefits of crime prevention and how to help make the area safe and secure.
When Moulton Leys had no schemes in place various crimes (burglaries, anti-social behaviour, car crime, cold callers, fly tipping) were happening frequently. However, police confirmed that in their first full year Moulton Leys had seen a more than 30% reduction in reported crime and this trend has continued – as a guide we use the one mile radius on postcode via: https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/crime-map
They have adopted a problem-solving approach. Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, Neighbourhood Watch was a standing item on the Moulton Leys Residents Association agenda that met three times a year and all questions were answered, concerns addressed, and ideas shared. As these meetings are now suspended until further notice, they have added a link to www.ourwatch.org.uk on the Moulton Parish Council website.
During lockdown several members acted as ‘posties’, delivering the Moulton Parish Council open letter that is focused on assisting the most vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic. To date they have reached around 300 homes with the mail-drop. Others have also assisted with food shopping, running errands, dog walking and friendly phone calls. During lockdown a scheme member has been making and distributing face masks, All proceeds go to the Covid-19 ward at Northampton General hospital and a hamper of chocolates, toiletries and cosmetics was also donated to the ward donated by Moulton Leys residents. The image above shows staff at Northampton General Hospital saying thank you.
Other successes they have had are: promoting the signing of petitions to keep the local Pharmacy open, working with Northampton Borough Council Environmental Warden to identify fly-tipping, promoting the local Community Centre as a venue for blood donation and holding enjoyable distanced VE Day celebrations in May.
The scheme has further arranged to have street drains cleared, two streetlamps repaired, a graffitied bus shelter cleaned by the Borough Council and to have a ‘dog mess’ bin relocated away from the entrance to a child’s play area in the local park. They are also in the process of arranging to have a road resurfaced.
The scheme works closely with their PCSOs and supports the police with local information. Several homes have been provided with vibration window and/or back door alarms, and a personal attack alarm donated by the police as part of a wider Northamptonshire Police ‘burglary prevention’ programme.
A mobile coffee van visits weekly for an opportunity for members to get together and socialise, which the scheme are planning to combine with police bicycle security marking. They have also joined forces with a security installation provider (CCTV, alarms, lighting, etc.) that offers scheme members a 10% discount.
As well as households the scheme has two businesses signed up as members (one primary school and one residential care home for autistic young people) and are looking to sign up a nursery soon following Neighbourhood Watch’s role in discovering a burglary and fly-tipping there during lockdown.
To communicate with the members they use WhatsApp, Neighbourhood Watch Alerts and a paper posted through letterboxes for those without access or interest in IT. Coordinators monitor social media channels for information and news to share.
We are only as good as the willingness of our members and the community to be vigilant and to act if they have suspicions.
The Coordinator of the scheme