Neighbourhood Watch is a partnership where people come together to make their communities safer and more resilient.
It involves the police, local authorities, voluntary organisations and, above all, individuals and families who want to make their neighbourhoods better places to live. It aims to help people protect themselves and their properties, to reduce crime and the fear of crime, help people protect against fraud and scams and to reduce the incidence of fire and environmental damage. Through greater vigilance, accurate reporting of suspicious incidents to the police and by fostering a community spirit of neighbourliness, cohesion and resilience, neighbourhoods can become safer and nicer places to live, work and visit.
Since coming to the UK in the early eighties, Neighbourhood Watch has evolved into wider regional associations and, finally, a coordinated national network.
Neighbourhood Watch first started in the United States as part of the community's response to the murder of Kitty Genovese in New York in 1964.
The movement made its way across the Atlantic in 1982 when the first group started in Mollington, Cheshire.
Neighbourhood Watch in the UK was originally called Home Watch, a name by which it is still most widely known in some parts of England.
The movement in the UK started out as individual groups of neighbours deciding to keep their eyes open and work with the police to report crime and suspicious occurrences. Neighbourhood Watch at 'street level' is known as 'schemes' which are run by a 'coordinator'. Over the years schemes and coordinators have banded together to form local, county and regional associations. Today, Neighbourhood Watch is one of the UK’s largest voluntary movements, covering approximately 3.8 million households.
The Neighbourhood Watch Network (NWN) is the charity and umbrella body which represents Neighbourhood Watch members across England and Wales.
Through its website and links with the police and many other national partners, it aims to give like-minded local people the resources they need to contact each other, share information and increase safety and social cohesion. In short, NWN helps neighbours help each other.
The NWN website contains a variety of helpful information for members and non members of Neighbourhood Watch. The site is at: www.ourwatch.org.uk