Villains deterred by 'clued up' residents

Community spirit helps fight crime

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Residents can help cut the risk of burglary by taking some simple steps.

  • Don't put out the welcome mat for burglars with easily
    accessible open doors or windows and make sure side gates and rear entrances to your property are shut.
  • Don't help robbers by leaving out ladders or gardening tools to assist them to break in.
  • If you live in flats, make sure the communal door is kept closed and remind your neighbours to do the same.
  • If you are going on holiday, ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your property and clear your mail. Don't leave an easily accessible window or door open in one part of the house when you're in another.
  • Use sash stops, which let in breezes, but are still secure.
    Don't leave communal doors permanently wedged open and make sure your side gates or rear entrances are shut.

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Hammersmith & Fulham residents are helping the police to fight crime by setting up local Neighbourhood Watch schemes according to Cllr Greg Smith, the new cabinet member for crime & antisocial behaviour.

There are 15 watches in the borough and the number is steadily rising as local communities appreciate the benefit of the schemes. One of the newest groups to be formed is the Felden Street and Swift Street Neighbourhood Watch in Fulham.

Felden Street resident and group co-ordinator Cathy Robertson says a spate of vandalism back in November was the catalyst for the community getting together.

"About a dozen of us all had our tyres punctured one evening", explains Cathy. "There had been a few problems before this as well and when we all bumped into each other at the garage we realised we had been systematically targeted. We decided there and then to get together to do something about it."

The Felden Street and Swift Street Neighbourhood Watch now holds regular meetings with up to forty people at each. They get regular updates and support from the local safer neighbourhood team and things are starting to look up.

Cathy continues, "We get good practical tips and advice from the police on how to prevent crime and we think it makes a difference. It's early days but it seems to be working and there's the added bonus of building a bit of community spirit."

Cllr Greg Smith cabinet member for crime & antisocial behaviour says the council will now work with the police to promote the benefits of Neighbourhood Watch schemes across the borough.

Cllr Smith says, "Whilst Neighbourhood Watch groups are no replacement for tough and robust policing, I applaud the clued up residents who come together to help keep criminals at bay. Neighbourhood Watch is community led and a real chance for residents to discuss localised
problems with the police. Neighbours who get together to highlight problems can really help the police fight, and ultimately cut, local crime."

The council's summer burglary campaign highlights the benefits of neighbourhood watch schemes as well some of the practical things residents can do to deter criminals.

To find out if there is an existing scheme in your area, or if you are interested in starting a scheme, call 020 8753 2810.


July 5, 2006