What Is A Neighbourhood Watch – And Can I Set One Up?

Caeva O'Callaghan | April 7th, 2020

If your home is in a Neighbourhood Watch area, this can lower your home insurance premiums by as much as 5%. But what exactly this classic example of community-led safety does, as well as how to get involved, isn’t always clear.

Read this guide to find out the answers to questions like these:

  • What is a Neighbourhood Watch?
  • How does a Neighbourhood Watch make my home safer?
  • Can I set up a Neighbourhood Watch?

If you don’t have a Neighbourhood Watch in your area, setting one up might be a great way to make new friends as well as increase security.

What is a Neighbourhood Watch?

Neighbourhood Watch is a nationwide crime prevention and community safety programme for people living in urban areas. It was set up to help community members improve their area’s quality of life by looking out for each other, as well as keeping an eye out for crime. Neighbourhood Watch members don’t take the law into their own hands, but instead report suspicious activities to the Gardaí.

Neighbourhood Watch also operates as a partnership between An Garda Síochána and the public. It helps to improve relations between civilians and authorities, with the aim of lowering crime.

Some of the aims of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme are:

  • To improve community safety
  • To prevent crime
  • To develop Garda and community links
  • To increase public confidence in An Garda Síochána
  • To foster a caring environment for older and vulnerable people
  • To reduce anti-social behaviour, including graffiti and harassment

How do I know if I’m in a Neighbourhood Watch area?

You’ll know if your area has a Neighbourhood Watch by the signs attached to lampposts. Members also display stickers in their windows.

New on your street? Knocking on your neighbours’ doors to ask them if they have details of your local scheme is a good way of introducing yourself. But Neighbourhood Watches aren’t just about preventing crime: they also foster community spirit. Being proactive is an excellent way to demonstrate that you’re Neighbourhood Watch material.

My area has no Neighbourhood Watch. Can I set one up?

Yes! The Garda will be delighted that you do, and will help you throughout the process. Any community or neighbourhood, big or small, can set up a Neighbourhood Watch. A single group can monitor a single street, an apartment complex, part or whole of a housing estate.

The most important part of any Neighbourhood Watch is its members. To start, you’ll need enthusiastic commitment from a few locals, as well as awareness of the roles that need to be filled. These include:

  • Area Coordinator
  • Street Coordinator
  • Members
  • Young People

The Garda encourage Neighbourhood Watch members to involve young people to help prevent crime and improve safety at this critical point in their lives. To set up a scheme in your area, contact your local Garda Station. 

Neighbourhood Watches meet as often as they like. In very quiet areas, it may even be enough to keep in touch over the telephone or Facebook. Meetings take place in a member’s home or community venue. If you have a large group, you’ll need someone to keep a record of what’s said, and plenty of biscuits.

But the most important thing for a successful Neighbourhood Watch is to outline your aims. What problems can you identify in your community? And how can you fix them?

An Garda Síochána include Neighbourhood Watches in crime prevention and reduction strategies, including Policing Plans. They’ll also give you booklets and window stickers, assign a Liaison Garda, and be on hand with any questions.

Neighbourhood Watch and your home insurance

Not only are Neighbourhood Watch schemes a great way to help prevent crime, keep your home secure and get to know your neighbours, they can even save you money.

Did you know, your home insurance premium could lower as much as 5% if you’re in an area under the eye of a Neighbourhood Watch? So not only is it something to look out for when buying a home, setting one up is a great idea.

But this isn’t just a ploy to get more homes reporting to the Garda. Statistics found that Neighbourhood Watch was successful in reducing crime overall, and nationally the number of attacks on the elderly declined by 84% after the scheme was implemented. People are safer with Neighbourhood Watch – and insurers will adjust what you pay for your cover accordingly.

If you are unsure about anything related to how a Neighbourhood watch scheme could help with your home insurance, call us in QuoteMe.ie

If you need to clarify what benefits a neighbourhood watch scheme could have with your home insurance, or if your policy is up for renewal and you want to add the fact that your home is part of a neighbourhood watch area, call us anytime and we can advise you accordingly. We know all the angles when it comes to home insurance. We are available for direct phone calls between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get a home insurance quote online on our website. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurance providers to get you the right cover for your situation. 

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.