Neighbourhood Watch coordinators are visiting burgled homes in Cambridgeshire to give residents advice and signpost them to support services in a trial scheme, it can be revealed.
The home visits started in December 2018 by Police approved coordinators and there have been no reports of the homes being re-burgled after the visits. This is a pivotal sign of success, Neighbourhood Watch says, as burgled homes are regularly re-targeted by the same criminals because they know residents will have replaced stolen items with brand new goods after insurance claims are paid out.
Robin Sutton, chair of Neighbourhood Watch in Cambridgeshire, said: “The scheme has been a great success and demonstrates how Neighbourhood Watch is actively helping to make communities safer and more resilient to crime. The home visits are in no way a replacement for the police. They are an additional way for a community to look out for one another when a neighbour has been the victim of crime.
“Our coordinators go in, ask what happened, signpost the victims to support services, and give out simple and practical advice about how to minimise the chances of another burglary. A large part of the visit is about being a good listener. Burglaries are awfully stressful for victims as they are left feeling shaken and unsafe in their own homes.”
After visiting one burglary victim, Mr Sutton was able to locate CCTV images from a nearby hairdresser which clearly identified the burglar. The images were passed over to Cambridgeshire Police.
There is a focus on ‘process’ to the visits says Mr Sutton. Coordinators must attend Police training and inform the Police Control Centre before and after every visit to ensure their safety.
Mr. Sutton wants to develop the project further by creating a full checklist for volunteers and is looking at extending the home visits to educate residents about scams that have been reported locally.
The Neighbourhood Watch Network is highlighting this story during Neighbourhood Watch Week, which runs from 17 – 23 June, with the theme of #MoreThanYouExpect showing how Neighbourhood Watch volunteers are transforming their communities in unexpected ways.