Generally speaking, its very easy for a criminal to escape court proceedings in a community where people are not crime conscious or are ignorant about it. The more easier it is to escape criminal justice the more crime is evident and frequent.
The Neighbourhood Watch Scheme helps to overcome this problem by encouraging mass responsibility to crime prevention by increasing a regional control among the community and to show to would-be offenders that once an offence has been committed it will be easily detected.
In fact vigilance helps to create a cohesion in the community where community members share collective responsibility for the prevention of crime. In this regard, a cohesive community is extremely important. They can explore a very far horizon for members to enable them to share a common interest above crime prevention, as regards charitable and social activities which will give a sense of pride and belonging to the community.
Why set up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
Schemes usually start where residents or the Police in an area identify a crime problem and want to reduce it. However, the benefits of setting up a watch can go beyond reducing the level of crime in the scheme area. It can also reduce the fear of crime in the neighbourhood and thus encouraging good relationship between the Police and the Community. It can also help residents to get to know one another.
How does the N.W.S work ?
There are three basic ways in which all members of a scheme can help the Police to reduce crime and the fear of crime in the area :
Looking out for your neighbourhood
Residents of watch areas are encouraged to be on the look out for suspicious behaviours. The Police Crime Prevention Unit is ready to offer guidance on what to look out for and the information they need when you report anything.
Details are very important. Whilst giving information remember precise description about persons and vehicles. This will help Police not to waste precious time and to avoid confusion.
Here is the information Police will need :-
An exact description of what you have seen
Person/s involved- approximate age, sex, height, build, particular characteristics, dress - any particular trait.
Number of vehicles involved, plate number ( even part of plate number) make , colour and direction taken.
Watch schemes are not intended to encourage members of the public " to have a go" or set themselves up as a vigilance force apart from the Police. Watch has always been and must remain a partnership between the Police and the Public, the public are the additional eyes and ears but the Police retain the active role when dealing with actual or suspected crime.
Securing the Home
To reduce the attractiveness of their homes to the opportunist thief, house holders are given advice on how to improve their security. They are also encouraged to use security already installed and to look after the home of other scheme members when they are away.
Setting up of a N.W.S
Police advice is essential when setting up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. Residents should share their enthusiasm and every opportunity be given to every one to join in. No one should feel that he is left out. Sizes of watch schemes vary in some areas.
Each scheme needs a co-ordinator who will be the contact point for the Police and for members of the scheme. He or she will need to be able to give up a few hours each week for meeting with the members, with the Police, with other co-ordinators and for the benefit of the watch.
Once an area has been designated, the first step is to arrange a meeting of as many people who live within the watch area as possible. At this meeting local and Crime Prevention Officers will explain in details how the scheme can be more effective and will outline the service the Police can provide.