Snug Harbour residents will sleep a little easier on Thursday night (6 December), knowing a successful neighbourhood watch group is keeping an eye on their community.
But it is not vigilante justice in this George Town community that makes it a success, but technology.
This April saw 13 burglaries occur in Snug Harbour and three more in May. May also saw the inception of the community watch group in Snug Harbour and since then, no further burglaries have been reported. Plus one man has been arrested for two of the incidents.
The Snug Harbour Neighbourhood Watch deputy coordinator Robin Garnham said they were proud of their success.
“What the Neighbourhood Watch has done is enable people to know each other and be familiar with their surroundings, we all work together and act as a team in trying to improve the community as well as deal with any problems like burglaries, car break-ins,” Mr. Garnham explained.
The group say they are not your stereotypical neighbourhood watch, patrolling the streets and spying through the net curtains.
Instead, they use Whatsapp to keep their beat officer – and their neighbours – alert to any potential crimes.
“The Whatsapp groups take a little but of policing themselves, we’ve got to make sure they have to be quite disciplined, it’s got to be relevant to the community watch. We can’t be having memes and links because people get frustrated and they leave the groups and that’s the exact opposite of what we’re trying to achieve,” PC Jonathan Kern of the RCIPS clarified.
And it is not just a reduction in burglary reports that the group have achieved:
“The Neighbourhood Watch is not only about preventing or reducing crime, it’s about safety and trying to get things that the community feels are important. For instance, we had lighting issues in Snug Harbour before the Watch. And now CUC has come in and improved the lighting throughout the street,” Coordinator Stephen Symons pointed out.
A win on two fronts: crime has improved and the community has become closer than ever.
The Snug Harbour group say they hope other communities will follow suit. They encourage you to reach out to them, or us, and to your local beat officer.