Neighbourhood Watch Members’ Obligations
These are a few basic guidelines about your role as a responsible member of Neighbourhood Watch. It might be some time now since you 'signed up' to Neighbourhood Watch membership or you may have joined an existing watch, subsequent to its formation. It is always helpful to remind members of the role they agreed to adopt when their Neighbourhood Watch was set up. Do spend a few minutes reading this and if you feel that you require further information contact your Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator or Crime Reduction Advisor. Although there is a great deal of literature available to help you in your role, as a minimum you should always secure your property and ensure that, through your vigilance and community spirit, crime is kept to an absolute minimum. This document provides some practical suggestions as to how Neighbourhood Watch members can improve the security of theirs and their neighbours home and property to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime.
Focussing On Your Neighbourhood
As well as improving the security of your home you and your Neighbourhood Watch members can have a significant impact on security of your neighbourhood.
· Meet your neighbours and get to know them even if they are not currently part of the Neighbourhood Watch.
· Attempt to recruit additional members to the watch.
· Ensure there is a Neighbourhood Watch sticker clearly displayed on entry doors to your property
· Agree amongst members and neighbours to ‘keep an eye out’ for each others’ homes and property.
· Trust your instincts. If you see something suspicious, take a note of it and report it to the police. For non urgent matters call 0845 125 2222 or in an emergency call 999.
Focussing On Security
Contrary to popular belief, most domestic burglaries are committed by ‘opportunists’. The criminal picks a house that looks unoccupied, has little or no obvious security and where they think they won’t be seen. Often these are spur-of-the-moment decisions made when an easy target presents itself such as an open window, valuables being left on view or lapses in security.
Focussing On Your Home
Take the time to read the following information and practical suggestions, assess your current security and if required take positive actions to improve it.
Don’t let your garden provide cover for burglars. Make your home more visible to neighbours by pruning back large shrubs, hedges and trees. Place trellis along the top of your rear fence to make it difficult to climb. Hostile plants, such as the berberis variety, can be grown alongside the fence for added protection.
Garden Sheds and Garages
Your garden shed and garage can be vulnerable. Chain tools and ladders to a strong anchorage point, and property mark expensive items. Fit good quality locks to your doors and always keep them locked.
External lighting that comes on automatically at dusk and stays on all night until dawn is recommended by the Home Office and Surrey Police. If low wattage light bulbs are used it can cost as little as 1p per night in electricity.
A burglar alarm installed and used properly can deter burglars. The sight of an alarm box outside your home may alone be enough to discourage burglars. There are various different types of monitored and audible alarms and you should seek advice from your local Crime Reduction Advisor who will assist you in selecting the type of alarm that best suits your circumstances.
All exterior doors should be fitted with at least a five-lever mortice lock conforming to British Standard 3621. Locks are only as good as the door and frame so make sure they are in good condition too. Patio doors and French windows should have relevant additional locks fitted in necessary.
Some burglaries are committed by keys being hooked through windows and letterboxes. Remember to keep your keys in a safe place, well away from doors and windows.
Ensure window frames are in good condition and consider having window locks fitted particularly to those windows that could be accessible to burglars.
Make Your Property Unique
Mark your property with your postcode and house number using a UV pen, forensic coding kit, engraver or other marking kit. This devalues property for the burglar and therefore acts as a deterrent. Valuable items should also be photographed and inventory kept along with descriptions and serial numbers.
Are You In?
Try to make your home look occupied while you are out. Invest in plug in timers for lamps and radios. Remember to cancel milk and newspapers when you go on holiday and ask a trusted neighbour to close your curtains at night and open them again in the morning.
Cars and bicycles should be stored in outbuildings or well lit areas and always securely locked when not in use. Valuables should always be removed including sat navs and cradles, mobile phones, bags and clothes.