Neighbourhood Watch was set up in Victoria in the 1980s with a focus on protecting residential property. It encouraged people to report on suspicious behaviour and mounted a program of education in community safety.
How things have changed over 30 years! Safety and anti-theft devices in houses and cars are far better, people are more vigilant and residential burglary rates are down. But with the increase of digital communication a different watchfulness is needed. As online transactions increase and social media connections go global, there’s a new kind of fraudster watching your place. Fortunately new watchdogs are watching them and Neighbourhood Watch is taking on new roles in community education.
For starters they recommend getting familiar with online watchdogs. The Australian Government website scamwatch gov.au/ has regular updates. Another government website staysmartonline.gov.au is also well worth a look. A popular US site is facecrooks.com. This is a website that focuses on creating a safer environment on Facebook by warning users about potential scams, hoaxes, and other dangerous things that can happen on Facebook.
Reporting crimes is still important. Dial 000 and ask for police to report:
any suspicious offence being witnessed or just occurred
- any situation where life or injury is threatened
- motor accidents where there are injuries
danger to people or property
- violent or anti-social behaviour.
To report past crimes or to ask advice: phone Knox Police 9881 7000 or Crimestoppers 1800 333 000.
For more information on useful safety websites see the Knox Neighbourhood Watch website.
Anne Boyd, Editor