Neighbourhood Watch is a crime prevention programme aimed at getting local communities in Ireland actively involved in observing and reporting suspicious activities. The programme involves creating a partnership between the Gardai and the community, which is designed to prevent crime and to help create a better environment in which to live.
The impetus to launch a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme may come from the local community or it may result from an approach from the Gardai. Normally, the local Superintendent will first arrange a meeting of interested individuals at which he/she will outline local crime trends, particular crime problems in the area, and ways in which residents can help the Gardai.
While Neighbourhood Watch is not a universal remedy for crime, it does have great potential in preventing certain types of crime, most notably burglary. It can also play a major role in easing the frequently unjustified, but understandable, anxiety and fear of crime felt by many citizens.
Each Neighbourhood Watch group should establish its own procedures and appoint or elect its own officers. The following steps should be followed in setting up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme:
Contact your local Garda station and ask to speak with your Divisional Officer about Neighbourhood Watch in your area. Contact information for every Garda station in Ireland is available at the front of all public telephone directories.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.