Across the nation crime is of concern to citizens in cities, suburbs, towns, and rural areas. Increasingly, citizens and Police Services realize that neither one can eradicate crime working separately. Neighbours and other concerned citizens, working cooperatively with Police Services, can have a positive effect.
The prevention of crime – particularly crime involving residential neighbourhoods – is a responsibility that must be shared equally by Police Services and private citizens. The fact is, the impact on crime prevention by Police Services alone is minimal when compared with the power of private citizens working with Police Services and with each other. Neighbourhood Watch is based on this concept of cooperation, and statistics prove that it works. When citizens take positive stops to secure their own property and neighbours learn how to report suspicious activity around their homes, break and enters and related offences decrease dramatically.
It is a fact of life that relationships in many of today’s communities have become less personal than they were years ago. Families are more transient, children have more activities that take them and their parents away from home, and there are more families with both parents working. The once-familiar sight of families visiting with each other on front porches while keeping a watchful eye on children and activities in the neighbourhood is a rarity in most communities today. This trend away from personal contact in the neighbourhood and the decrease in time families spend at home are two of the essential ingredients that make communities ripe for crimes of opportunity, such as break and enters.
Break and Enter, the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft, is the crime that is targeted particularly by the Neighbourhood Watch Program. While it is one of the most prevalent and difficult crimes facing Police Services today, it is, at the same time, the one major crime that CAN be effectively resisted by each citizen taking POSITIVE ACTION at home.
Contrary to popular opinion, break and enters are not a crime restricted to urban areas; it also occurs in suburban and rural areas at an alarming rate. There are exceptions to the rising tide of crime, however, and studies reveal that these are often thriving Neighbourhood Watch communities, where dedicated, enthusiastic residents have been trained to notice suspicious activities and report them, not only to Police Services, but also to each other. Neighbourhood Watch is, after all, hardly a new idea; in fact, it is based on one of the oldest and simplest concepts known to man – neighbours helping neighbours. And when neighbours get together and cooperate with Police Services crime CAN be reduced. Numerous convicted criminals have admitted that they are simply not prepared to take the added risk of working in Neighbourhood Watch protected communities.
Neighbourhood Watch provides a means of reducing the opportunity for crime to occur, through the active participation of citizens in crime prevention. The program teaches citizens how they can:
Very few people are in a position to protect their homes and property all the time. Work, shopping trips or an evening out, as well as vacations, means homes are unattended and vulnerable to theft. The Neighbourhood Watch program provides a sense of security for individuals or families who leave their homes for any length of time. The program will also help to co-ordinate the efforts of the police and the community in tracking down criminals. Strong community involvement is encouraged because neighbourhood unity can deter crime that threatens residents’ peace and safety.
Victim responses to a home break and enter generally follow a similar pattern: Initial fear and anger give way to an obsession with seeing the intruder caught and making sure the home is never targeted by criminals again. In the past, many frightened victims sat back and simply hoped their homes would be spared a repeat performance. They, as well as their neighbours, worried and wondered about what they could do to protect their property.
Since the establishment of Neighbourhood Watch however, thousands of homeowners who want to take intelligently planned action to decrease crime statistics in their areas have discovered that they have a ready, willing and highly qualified partner in their local police services. These homeowners now know that their police services would rather work with citizens to prevent crime than spend time with manpower investigating it after it occurs.
Neighbourhood Watch is an extension of what you are probably already doing on an informal basis. We tend to know and watch out for our closest neighbours. A group at one end of the block, however, may not know another family who resides at the opposite end of the block. Organizing a Neighbourhood Watch makes this attitude of watchfulness more systematic in nature. You are provided with a Neighbourhood Watch brochure including neighbours names and telephone numbers so that it may be used during situations of emergency or non-emergency.
If you wish to become a member of the Kars Neighbourhood Watch please phone Shaun at 613 489-3794.
Click here for the Application form