Thursday, 17th April, 2014
Any home is a potential target for burglars; some are more appealing than others and some offer themselves up with a bow that begs to be opened.
A Neighbourhood Watch volunteer is angry that there are too many “negative attitudes” towards the scheme.
Sylvia Hodgkinson, of Eldon Avenue, Borehamwood, believes many residents do not realise how difficult being a volunteer can be and is calling on more people to join.
The scheme sees volunteers assigned to a different patch, reporting any suspicious activities they see to the police.
Ms Hodgkinson, who began volunteering in Eldon Avenue ten years ago, said: "I think the work the volunteers do is really inspiring, but many people have a bad perception of it - that is really sad.
"I have spoken to some in the past who take the approach that this is a job that should be done by the police and so being a part of this scheme is pointless.
"But what they do not realise, is that people who actually live and socialise in the area see what is happening on a daily basis – we are the eyes and ears of the community.
"And by keeping a watchful eye on the area you cover, you can tell the police when you spot something suspicious, who can deal with it before it turns into a bigger problem.
"We help keep crime levels low."
Five years ago, Ms Hodgkinson, who is unemployed, was handed a good neighbour award at a Neighbourhood Watch conference.
She first got involved in the scheme when a group of children were causing anti-social behaviour in her street.
"I was determined to do something about this, not only for myself, but for the benefit of my neighbours too.
"Working with other volunteers really helped solve the problem, so I decided to stick around and carry on.
"I really enjoy being a part of the scheme, but there are currently too many negative attitudes towards it. I hope people start realising how much it benefits the community."
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Following their recent residents’ survey, local Conservatives in Coldharbour, Mottingham & New Eltham ward have been working to establish a network of local Neighbourhood Watch groups in the area. There has been a significant increase in burglaries – particularly in the New Eltham part of the ward, over the last few months – and this has caused understandable concern.
NEIGHBOURHOOD Watch stickers were once a proud yellow badge displayed in the windows of homes across the Vale warning law breakers they were up against a network of neighbours ready to fight back against crime.
Please be aware of a growing scam where fraudsters are posing as bank staff or Police to dupe people into withdrawing and handing over cash, handing over their card and PIN, or transferring funds to the fraudsters account. Fraudsters often target older and more vulnerable members of the community and many victims have lost their life savings.
The security of a person’s home is always important. However, many home owners define their security by how expensive their alarm system is, or by what brand of exterior locks they use. But by thinking about security in terms of individual features, you home might not be as secure as it could be.