For reasons that are too complicated to go into, I decided to find out the name of the Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for my area. Sam at Enquiries passed me on to Val at The Willows, who passed me on to Michelle the Adviser, who phoned me to say that, according to their records, it was me.
Quite how this happened, I’m not entirely sure. A couple of years ago, we were experiencing some low level anti-social behaviour and someone organised a Neighbourhood Watch meeting. Although I didn’t particularly feel that we needed a scheme in our street, I wanted to be supportive, so went along.
Actually, it was a really nice just to get together and meet people. At the end of the meeting, we all got our little welcome packs and went home. I must have filled in a form.
Anyway, that was the last anybody heard of it until your correspondent stuck her head above the parapet. Before I knew what was happening, I had a fistful of letters and was knocking on doors trying to get people to sign up. Storyofmylife.
The online “how to be a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator” toolkit has lots of useful tips on forming committees, organising meetings, appointing honorary treasurers etc., which I propose to ignore. My approach is:
- Say hello
- Reassure people that they won’t have to attend meetings, join committees etc.
- Offer them a selection of stickers.
- Invite them to subscribe to the local crime alert messaging service
- Make a mental note that December is a really stupid time of year to start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme
Most people have been happy to be asked, even if they don’t want to join, and it’s been a great way to meet new residents.
Today, I popped along to “Coffee with Cops” at the local library and made contact with the local PC and PCSOs. As a result, I am now heading up a major crime fighting initiative – waging war on bike thefts (the quintessential Oxford crime) – armed only with leaflets and, yes, more stickers.Links: Neighbourhood Watch Thames Valley* Alert
*other police forces are available