A number of years ago Lincoln and more recently Buick conducted ad campaigns around “not your Grandfather’s…” Those ads were developed because they had a new and modern product that was perceived by the general public as one only your Grandfather bought or drove. The campaign was very successful in showing a more modern product, which was different and one that could be appreciated by everyone, including a younger demographic.
Well… We are not your Grandfather’s Neighbourood Watch either.
Much of what a neighbourhood watch program was, or did in the past, was based on a different approach to crime prevention than we have now. It was about addressing crime WHEN it happened, patrolling neighbourhoods LOOKING for suspicious persons and engraving your valuables so that you could get them returned WHEN stolen IF recovered. There was the common perception that certain neighbours watched everything on the street including other people’s homes. They were the prying-eyes in the neighbourhood – the Mrs. Kravitz. That’s not Edmonton Neighbourhood Watch in 2017.
ENW has worked hard with help from many organizations and stakeholders like the Edmonton Police Service and the City of Edmonton to transform into a new and more modern product (like Lincoln and Buick). Although, and unfortunately, you won’t see Matthew McConaughey selling Neighbourhood Watch in a commercial. But, the transformation is similar.
There are four basics:
- Get to know you neighbours
- Be visible in your neighbourhood
- Create hard target neighbourhoods
- Report all crimes and suspicious activities to police
I would rather see my neighbours on our street instead of police patrols or citizen patrolling in vests with flashlight. There are already people walking in my neighbourhood. So walking with more than one purpose is easy. Whether you are out for an evening walk, going to the park or just to the bus stop, you can make a difference by paying attention to what belongs in your neighbourhood and reporting suspicious activities. Say hello, be observant and look out for your neighbours and neighbourhood. #walkyourblock
Education is a key component in creating safer neighbourhoods. Then number if property crimes can be reduced when residents practice good crime prevention strategies. Removing opportunities can reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim. Ask yourself, could someone “take it” easily? If so, make it harder:
- Lock your vehicle ALWAYS and remove all visible valuables
- Never leave a vehicle running with the keys inside
- Do not leave valuables accessible on your property
- Secure your home: close & lock your doors & windows
Homes left vulnerable become easy targets. Many homes left vulnerable in a neighbourhood make the entire neighbourhood an easy target and more vulnerable to repeat crimes. If you and your neighbours remove opportunities you make it harder for thieves.
And remember report, report, report! Just like your Grandfather’s Lincoln may still have a couple things the same, so does ENW. The neighbourhoods signs say “We report suspicious activities to police” which is an important practice in creating safer neighbourhoods. When you see something suspicious call the police. Whether you are out walking, coming home or become aware of something suspicious; be a good witness, observe and call the police.
Until next time…
Debbie Sellers, ENW
Edmonton Neighbourhood Watch (ENW) is a not-for-profit, charitable, volunteer passive crime prevention organization.