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:
- All households in the area are surveyed.
- If the survey indicates sufficient support for the establishment of a scheme, the results are conveyed to the Divisional Officer who, in his/her discretion, decides on the formal establishment of the Scheme in that particular area.
- Co-ordinators for the various streets and areas are selected and appointed at a public meeting following approval for the establishment of the Scheme. The chief role of the co-ordinators is to act as a point of first contact for members of the Scheme, to receive and distribute information and to recruit new members. Through the co-ordinators, other projects such as Property Marking or a local Newsletter may be established. The co-ordinators will hold periodic meetings to discuss different issues as they arise.
- The Gardai provides every resident who joins a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme with information.
- A local Garda is appointed to liaise with each scheme.
There is more information on Neighbourhood Watch on the Garda Síochána website.
How to apply
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.