As a locksmith in the Sidcup area, I’ve been getting more and more interested in finding ways that we can help ourselves to keep safe. So I’ve been looking into Neighbourhood Watch schemes to see what they can offer us.
The first Neighbourhood Watch scheme in this country was set up in Cheshire, a mere thirty years ago. It copied a scheme that had been set up in Chicago in the USA. Just under four million people are now said to be registered on Neighbourhood Watch schemes in this country. Some insurance companies offer a discount to people who are part of a registered scheme, so it’s worth thinking about setting one up or joining one for this reason alone.
A Neighbourhood Watch is made up of communities who want to make their streets as crime free as possible. They can either be residents in a street, or perhaps business people along a High Street.
They are always volunteers. They work with the police and with councils to prevent crime. The police support the schemes, but they don’t run them, and it’s important to note that the success of the scheme depends on the enthusiasm of the volunteers.
Neighbourhood Watch partners work together on improving security, keeping a look out for suspicious behaviour and by reporting incidents when they happen. A volunteer resident co-ordinator liaises with the police, and they receive information and messages to keep them in touch with activities. They may, for example, report that there has been a spate of burglaries in the next street, or report that cars have been broken into in the station car park. This makes local people more aware of potential problems and can encourage them to be more vigilant or to report suspicious activity that they have seen.
Where increased security is concerned, this is where I come in. As a locksmith, I aim to offer the most sophisticated range of locks and keys possible so that thieves have a hard time committing a crime in my area. As well as the usual key-cutting services, I offer top-of-the-range Avocet ABS locks so that customers can upgrade their security. Avocet supply locks that are more difficult to break, which makes our properties less vulnerable. Every day, I’m out fitting them for customers from Sidcup to Sevenoaks, and from Beckenham to Biggin Hill!
But no matter how good the locks are, they are of no use if residents can’t be bothered to lock up when they leave their properties. An amazing 20% of people are burgled because they have left a window or door open when they’ve gone out!
Email reminders about this sort of issue from a neighbourhood co-ordinator are a great way to encourage us to be more responsible for our home security.
So unfortunately, as an emergency locksmith I’m often called in because of the aftermath of crime, to secure properties when locks have been damaged or keys have been stolen.
Make sure you’re not an unnecessary statistic of crime!
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