Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) commenced in Australia in 1984, following successful introduction and operation of similar groups in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe. The broad aim of NHW is to make our neighbourhoods safer by utilising the eyes and ears of community members in the awareness of crime and hence promoting closer cooperation between members of the public and the local police. The Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby areas are fortunate to have had local NHW groups virtually since the Australian inception of NHW.
An advantage of the NHW concept is that individual groups are small and local. Hence, they support local neighbourhoods. The initial focus of the groups was protection of both private and commercial property. Over time, the role has evolved and expanded to also include new crimes, such as identy theft, fraud scams and cybercrimes.
Each NHW group in the area operates autonomously. In addition, since 2011 volunteers from each of the groups meet quarterly under the banner ‘NHW within Ku-ring-gai & Hornsby council areas’. By helping one another, the NHW groups work together as a team and identify the most effective methods of making our neighbourhoods and our internet usage safer for all. These methods include:
- Provision of support to the local Ku-ring-gai police by regularly assisting the Crime Prevention Officer (CPO) with crime prevention stalls at community events, letterbox drops etc.
- Education of everyone in the community in crime prevention, for all types of crime. Not only how to prevent, but how to report crime, and how to recover after having become a victim of crime.
- The offer of advice, support or manpower to existing local NHW groups, eWatches and to volunteers wishing to form new NHW groups.
- Keeping the community up-to-date about crime in their area. Through modern technology, we reach most of the community. An ongoing presence on social media – Facebook and Twitter, – the maintenance of this website and production of a weekly Crime Update eNewsletter ensure a wide distribution of information.
- Acting as a conduit to/from the NSW Police and other government agencies (eg warnings, Keep a lookout for, cctv images) and to connect the community to the correct agency/information.
- To give and lend items to the community that aid their safety and security, eg engraver, driveway marking stencil, shredder, UV pens, garbage bin stickers, etc (see the BORROW menu option).
The local NSW Police asked NHW to support their use of Facebook when they launched ‘eyewatch’ in September 2011.
Today Eyewatch and NHW complement each other in promoting awareness of local crime and prevention strategies. Each NSW Police command has an eyewatch page on Facebook. It’s easy to get involved with eyewatch. Simply ‘like’ the Ku-ring-gai Police Area Command (PAC) eyewatch page. This page provides direct two-way communication. You will get up-to-date crime news and crime prevention information and strategies such as warnings, helpful advice, requests for assistance to identify individuals (wanted, witnesses and missing persons). You can even have your say on issues in the neighbourhood. This is the only way to know your local police while being actively involved in your community’s safety.
NHW in Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby has a Facebook Closed Group that you may request to join: ‘Neighbourhood Watch in Ku-ring-gai & Hornsby’. You can discuss current topics, ask questions and share local information. This group and our various suburb NHW Facebook pages can be found via the LINKS menu option.
In 2017 NHW Australasia gave community funding for our innovative WatchOut! project. The website, www.WatchOut.org.au is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for crime prevention information, with an A-to-Z index to the best advice available on the internet. Please have a look.
‘The new website WatchOut! is a great idea. We all know that putting effort into prevention is way better than dealing with the consequences’ – Liz, Wahroonga.
NHW within Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby is firmly established and has many crime prevention strategies in place. Click on the SERVICES menu option for details on current projects. Alternatively, click on the CONTACT menu option to find out about NHW in your street, or to volunteer some of your time.