Impact of Neighbourhood Watch
We have added an N to the tested WIDE burglary prevention acronym. We believe NEIGHBOURS are a key part of reducing burglary. Active Neighbourhood Watch schemes can be an effective crime prevention tool by:
- increasing surveillance
- altering offenders' perception of risk, if an area is clearly marked as a Neighbourhood Watch area
- encouraging residents to consciously consider their own home security, and
- promoting social interaction and neighbourhood cohesion among communities.
If there is a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in your community, ensure there are signs displayed making people aware of it.
You can also take some basic steps to prevent opportunists from selecting your home and make it difficult for them to operate.
- Introduce yourself to your neighbours and suggest you help each other out when either of you is not at home. It can be simple things like taking the wheelie bins out, collecting parcels left at the front of the house and keeping an eye on your house.
- Beware of bogus callers - use your spy hole to see who it is, and if you don't know them, ask to see their ID. Ask them to pass their ID through the letterbox or hold it to the window so that you can thoroughly check their details. Door chains can be helpful in these situations.
- In shared dwellings, encourage the other residents to close doors and refuse entry to anybody unknown to the household.
- Never discuss your security requirements or existing arrangements with a doorstep caller or salesperson.
- Ensure that any items a thief might be interested in can't be seen through your windows. Don't leave phones, tablets or laptops in view, and unplug chargers and cables while you're not using them. Leaving these plugged in and trailing from sockets tells burglars that you own these high-value devices.
- Consider putting a dog bowl or a 'beware of the dog' sign by the front door and a chewy rawhide bone in the garden.
- Most houses have valuables attractive to criminals, such as cash, jewellery, TVs, laptops, tablets, gaming kits, and small electrical items. Large amounts of money and expensive jewellery should not be kept in the house unless adequately protected - consult your insurance company about these items and their protection. If you keep them in your home, prepare an inventory including a description, value, and photos next to a ruler to indicate their size.
- Lastly – if you go away on holiday, don't plaster your holiday snaps all over social media until you return. Broadcasting that your home is unoccupied is a clear invitation to a burglar – and could invalidate your home and contents insurance.
Visit protectyourhomenorthants.co.uk for a handy interactive image.