Many citizens, especially in rural areas, have always lived by the motto of “people helping people”—they were “neighbourhood watching” long before anyone thought of establishing a formal program, and they don’t need to be told how to be good neighbours. People form associations to achieve collective goals, and associations give focus and voice to the ideas and energies of its members when there are problems to be solved or issues to address. People form associations to protect the environment, to oppose drunk drivers, to save heritage buildings…and also to prevent crime.
Advantages in participating in Neighbourhood Watch is that it facilitates access to program literature, Neighbourhood Watch signage and a Community Safety Officers for support. More importantly, it facilitates a linking of arms with your neighbours and your police service, both at neighbourhood and city-wide levels, to address crime prevention.
We all value our privacy. But Neighbourhood Watch is simply a program designed to help prevent neighbourhood crime – it could be physical assaults, vandalism, or whatever is deemed as a crime in progress or suspicious. One of the ways its members achieve this goal is by being alert and knowing when to Make the Right Call. A Watch isn’t meant to be a Social Club, but it’s a whole lot easier to identify strangers once you get to know your neighbours and for this reason, watched neighbourhoods do tend to be more cohesive, caring communities. So, bottom line, it really comes down to deciding what kind of a community you want to live in, and what level of participation makes it work for you.