In 1964, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was stabbed outside the apartment building across the street from where she lived. According to the media, 38 witnesses saw or heard the attack. None of them came to her aid or called the Police. This caused a chain of reaction. And then resulted in the first Neighbourhood Watch being set up in New York as a community response. Today, in the UK, the Neighbourhood Watch is the largest crime prevention movement with 2.3 million member households.

The mission the Neighbourhood Watch

Since its very beginning, the main aim of the Neighbourhood Watch is to bring communities together. As well as to increase social awareness and prevent crime or anti-social behaviour. First UK Watch Scheme was established in 1982. Later, the Neighbourhood Watch representatives formed local, county and regional groups and, with the support of the Police and the Home Office, the first national umbrella organisation for the movement was established. Today, it is classified as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and operates under a name of the Neighbourhood Watch Network. Its mission is to make sure that nobody in the given area feels vulnerable or isolated. Areas of the Neighbourhood Watch are marked with special signs, so that potential burglars are aware that the area is constantly being watched and protected by its inhabitants who support each other.

The Neighbourhood Watch supports a number of local initiatives. For example, through their website you can get in touch with The Police and Crime Commissioner. This is a person who has commissioning powers and funding to help cut crime and improve community safety. He also can commission services and award grants to organisations which support the community safety priorities in Police and Crime Plan. Many PCC’s have a Community Safety Fund (or its equivalent) that you can apply to for your areas’ running costs or for a specific project.

To join the scheme in your area all you need to do is to fill in a simple form on the website: https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/join/