When moving into a new community, it’s important to keep in mind the positive affects a Neighbourhood Watch Program will have. It’s a program designed to help a community reduce break and enters and other property crimes. Members in a community are encouraged to participate to watch over the well-being of the community and reduce criminal activity.
How It Works
This program works through members of a community volunteering their time to look out for their neighbour’s home and property.
Here are some things to watch out for:
• Suspicious persons or activities.
• Vehicles passing by numerous times, suspiciously parked, or constantly travelling in back lanes.
• Strangers in your neighbourhood. Someone may use an unanswered doorbell as an indication that no one is home, and use the opportunity to break into the house.
• The person “taking a short-cut” through a yard.
• Strange vehicles parked at your neighbour’s house.
If you happen to notice any strange activity like the points noted above, don’t assume that the police have already been contacted. If you feel something is suspicious take action. Make notes of the suspicious person or vehicle and call the police at 204-986-6222. If an actual crime is in progress, call 911 immediately and wait for the police to take action, do not approach the situation.
What Else You Can Do
• Exchange work and vacation schedules with a neighbour you trust, so you can keep an eye on each other’s homes.
• If your neighbour is away, and you see an obvious invitation to a burglar, correct it. (Close the open garage door or remove the accumulation of newspapers and mail from their doorstep or mailbox).
How to Develop the Neighbourhood Watch Program
It’s important to get involved with your community. Prevention of crime is ultimately everyone’s responsibility and the safest communities are those where the residents are committed to the Neighbourhood Watch Program.
To have an active Neighbourhood Watch block, the following must be in place:
• There must be a designated Block Captain.
The Block Captain is the backbone of the Neighbourhood Watch Program. Block Captains on active blocks receive crime notifications from the police, information from neighbours, and remit the information to other members of the Neighbourhood Watch. If no one is willing to volunteer a few hours a year as Block Captain, the block is removed from the Neighbourhood Watch Program.
Information on any recent crimes that have occurred in the area is available on the Winnipeg Police website – www.winnipeg.ca/police. There are great links to check out on the Neighbourhood Watch website.
Neighbourhood Watch Tips
• Put the Neighbourhood Watch window decals up immediately.
• Get to know your neighbours and encourage them to visit the Neighbourhood Watch website for stats and info.
• Conduct a security audit of your home and make every effort to upgrade any weaknesses.
• Take part in Operation Identification. Borrow an engraver from the Police Service and mark and record items of value.
• Practice every personal safety and home security precaution.
• If you witness a crime in progress – TakeAction and phone 911. Stay on the line and give whatever information you can to the operator. If you wish to remain anonymous – tell the operator – but still provide them with the information that they request.
• If you see activity that you feel is suspicious, call the police immediately at 204-986-6222.
• If you are a victim of any type of crime – report it to the police. Remember that the police do not know what crimes are happening in your neighbourhood unless you tell them. You should also advise your Block Captain and neighbours. They may have seen or heard of something that could help the police in their investigation.
• The police advise your Block Captain of crimes that occur on or in relation to your block. Your Block Captain passes this information on by the chosen method of communication. Be sure to always pass this on. Share information – and together you can make a difference.
An active Neighbourhood Watch can result in savings on your insurance premium. It takes you, your Block Captain and the Police to keep your Neighbourhood Watch working. For other community updates, a local Facebook page will keep you informed on any activity or news throughout the community. If you require more information to starting Neighbourhood Watch, please contact the Winnipeg Police Community Services