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Neighbourhood Watch

A Community Guard talks to a resident about the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

What is Neighbourhood Watch?  

Neighbourhood Watch is a crime prevention and community safety programme for urban areas. It operates as a partnership between An Garda Síochána and the public. It works on the basis that every member of a community can help to improve the quality of life in the area by keeping a look out for neighbours and reporting suspicious activities to the Gardaí. 

Who can set up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme?  

Every community or neighbourhood, no matter how large or small, can set up a scheme. A scheme can cover a single street, an apartment complex, a part or the whole of a housing estate. The heart of every scheme is the commitment of each household taking part in it.  

What are some of the aims of Neighbourhood Watch? 

  • To improve community safety
  • To prevent crime
  • To develop Garda and community links
  • To increase public confidence in An Garda Síochána
  • To foster a caring environment for older and vulnerable people
  • To reduce anti-social behaviour, including graffiti and harassment

How do I set up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme?

To set up a scheme in your area, contact your local Garda Station. The scheme may be set up in response to community demand or as a result of Garda contact. A Garda will outline what has to be done and will help to organise your first meeting. Before you set up a scheme, talk to local residents to see if they will support it. It is important to make sure that everyone taking part understands what the scheme is about.  

What are the different roles in a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme? 

Normally these would include:-

  • The Area Coordinator
  • The Street Coordinator
  • The Neighbourhood Watch Member
  • Young People

It is important to involve young people in Neighbourhood Watch. To this end, there are successful crime prevention and community safety initiatives aimed at Transition Year students. A number of Neighbourhood Watch schemes have involved young people in sport and environmental improvement activities.

Neighbourhood Watch will only succeed with active input from all members. Your actions and support help to make it work. Don’t leave it to others, play a part in any way you can.  

What is the Garda Input into Neighbourhood Watch Schemes? 

While Neighbourhood Watch is a partnership programme, An Garda Síochána will give an added commitment to its promotion, organisation and support, e.g.- 

  • We will include Neighbourhood Watch in all crime prevention and crime reduction strategies, including Policing Plans
  • We will provide all resource material (booklets, window stickers, survey forms and administration forms)
  • We will carry out another national review of Neighbourhood Watch in 2011
  • Each Neighbourhood Watch scheme will be assigned a Liaison Garda
  • Senior Garda managers will establish Divisional and District Neighbourhood Watch Committees