A few years ago the then Neighbourhood Watch (NW) Coordinator for my street, Denholm Road in Musselburgh, East Lothian, decided that they could no longer do the role. NW Scotland reached out to all the members of the Watch to see if any one of us was prepared to take on the role. As I didn’t want it it to fold and knowing it is a great scheme, I took it on.
About 4 years ago, due to several housebreakings in our street some neighbours decided our Street should join Neighbourhood Watch Scotland (NWS) and I became the NWS co-ordinator.
Exceptionally helpful and friendly NWS staff helped me with this process.
A few years ago our housing estate was targeted by high value break-ins every few months.
It was always the same method of entry, and thieves always seemed to know when the occupiers were out or away, and always entered by the rear of the property by forcing doors or windows.
When Falkirk Council, approximately 30 years ago, provided a team consisting of a dedicated Consultant and a Police Officer to revitalise Neighbourhood Watch (NW), asking if local people would like to attend a workshop on NW and providing all the information on how to start up a watch and giving assistance, Sylvia McPhee took up the challenge like many others in Falkirk District.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are close partners and valued supporters of Neighbourhood Watch Scotland (NWS). For a number of years NWS and SEPA have worked together to improve their community engagement processes allowing SEPA to better connect with local communities regarding flooding awareness and preparedness.
It is relatively easy to start up a neighbourhood watch group and we know that they can be very effective at dealing with local issues such as crime, however the real challenge is sustaining the group after it has achieved its initial objectives. Beith Orr Park Neighbourhood Watch is a shining example of ‘your watch, your way’ and what can be achieved when communities work collectively.
An older man had undergone major surgery for a head injury and was, as a result, very vulnerable. He would respond to anyone who called regardless of whether they wanted information or money. Inevitably he became the target of scam calls, losing over £1000 in under a fortnight.
The first neighbourhood watch in the area was set up and coordinated by Mrs Phyllis Goodheir who ran it for from 1989 into the late 1990s covering 213 households.