Neighbourhood Watch is taking a new approach to crime prevention with the launch of a series of online information packs and campaign toolkits, to help our volunteers run awareness and prevention campaigns in their own local communities.

Funded by the Home Office, the seven new Crime & Vulnerability Toolkits aim to provide regional and local Neighbourhood Watch coordinators with various online and printable campaign resources that they can use to inform and educate their local members about the new and emerging crime types.

The project was devised in response to the changing nature of crime and vulnerability across England and Wales. All the crime types have been pinpointed by the government as high-priority, high-harm issues that require cross-sector action, involving communities and individuals as well as government, police, statutory services and charities.

The first seven campaign packs are on Scams, Domestic Abuse, Serious Violence (including knife crime), Modern Slavery, Terrorism, Child Sexual Exploitation, and Loneliness & Vulnerability. Loneliness is clearly not a crime, but is a problem that has been identified by the government as increasing people’s risk of falling victim to crime – particularly older people – hence its inclusion in the project.

Each online pack provides a brief, plain-English summary of the specific crime: what it is, how it happens, how prevalent it is, and who is most at risk. It also outlines the signs that may indicate the crime is being committed, what steps you can take to help prevent it, and what to do if you suspect someone you know is a victim or a perpetrator.

Each online pack is also accompanied by a campaign toolkit containing a selection of practical online and offline resources that can be circulated or distributed as part of an awareness-raising campaign. These resources include leaflets and posters that can be printed off and put through letterboxes or handed out at public meetings, as well as films, GIFs, and audio clips that can be forwarded by email or posted on social media channels.

Some of these have been created by Neighbourhood Watch as part of the project, while some are the work of other expert organisations, such as charities or police forces.

All the toolkits also contain a Powerpoint presentation on the crime type, a template cover letter that campaigners can use to tell their members about it, and a suggested campaign action plan offering ideas of how to use the toolkit materials as part of a local campaign.

The information in all the online packs has been reviewed and validated by expert charities working in the field; for example, Barnardo’s reviewed the Child Sexual Exploitation pack, and the Ben Kinsella Trust reviewed the Serious Violence one.

The online packs and campaign toolkits can all be found on our website, and are freely available for anybody to use.

Neighbourhood Watch hopes that as well as their own coordinators, the resource will be useful for police officers, police community support officers (PCSOs) and anybody else that works to raise awareness of crime in local communities.

Neighbourhood Watch chief executive John Hayward-Cripps said: “These practical new toolkits contain all the information you need to protect yourself and your neighbours from a range of new crime threats that can cause significant harm to victims.

“While some of these themes may not at first appear to be traditional for NW, there is a key role we can all play in supporting our communities and the police to address these crimes.

“We hope you will use the toolkits to spread the word about these problems among your communities, because the more that people are aware of them, the harder it is for criminals to get away with them.”