Neighbourhood Watch - General
Neighbourhood Watch is a program designed to reduce the threat of crime to neighbours and property. This program encourages all residents to be alert to suspicious persons or vehicles and to notify each other quickly via web-based tools.
The more people that are members, the more neighbours there are looking out for each other.
If a person becomes the victim of a property crime they can post it on this website which will then notify their neighbours. Sometimes more than one home or vehicle can
be targeted by criminals. Neighbours with security cameras can then check their video to see if a suspicious person/vehicle was recorded and notify police to aid in their investigation. Posting images from a video to this
website will help neighbours be on the alert if the criminal(s) returns.
Neighbourhood Protect is a free web-based Neighbourhood Watch tool.
Traditional Neighbourhood Watch programs require canvassing, sign-up sheets and regular meetings. Given most peoples' busy work and family
schedules, a manual process is not always practical or possible. This Neighbourhood Protect website automates that process by having members refer
their neighbours, friends and family thereby simplifying the sign-up process.
Futher automation is accomplished by having crime and suspicious activity
entered by the observer with automatic notifications sent to their neighbours. Neighbours are always kept up to date and can get involved when something is reported.
Sharing information quickly amongst neighbours and police is beneficial for an effective neighbourhood watch. The old manual methods might be too slow.
Although facebook and Wordpress blogs can provide some simple automation, these accounts just become silos of information that must be manually tracked and reviewed by the police. An application specific
website such as this offers superior search tools for investigators over generic social media websites.
This is a web-based tool and as such is not locked into a particular city or neighbourhood. Any neighbourhood in any city can
take advantage of this free application. Since some criminals travel by car they can easily affect more than one neighbourhood. It would be beneficial then to have multiple neighbourhoods use this website as well to help share information across a greater area. The more neighbourhoods that share information the easier it is to identify the same criminals and have the police be alerted to this crime trend.
This tool would then provide one location where the police can review any and all neighbourhoods, create statistics and summaries and receive automatic notifications.
Neighbourhood Protect expands on the idea of neighbourhood watch by joining multiple neighbourhood watches together. Just as it is beneficial for neighbours to join a neighbourhood watch, it is
also beneficial for individual neighbourhood watches to join together to form a larger regional watch. Neighbourhood Protect is an administration and communication tool for neighbourhood watches and law enforcement.
If you are interested in neighbourhood safety and/or would like to start your own neighbourhood watch please feel free to sign up. If you are already a member and see value in this neighbourhood watch
website then share this link with your family, friends and other neighbours. If you are part of another neighbourhood watch that either uses pen-and-paper or social media but would like to fully automate the process and be connected
to other neighbourhood watches then you and your group may wish to consider signing up and using this tool.
This website went live on July 23, 2016 in the Durham Region, Ontario (Canada). The ultimate goal of this website is to help make neighbourhoods safer and to aid police in any of their invesitgations.
Police Crime Maps
Click on this link: On-line maps, to view reported crimes in your area.
Police Neighbourhood Watch Training Videos
Neighbourhood watch training videos on what to do and how to better protect yourself.
Training Video - Part I
Training Video - Part II
Training Video - Part III
Training Video - Part IV
This website is a tool specific to supporting neighbourhood watch programs by:
- Maintain membership lists in a confidential manner
- Supports residential and commercial neighbourhoods
- Supports an infinite number of neighbourhoods
- Does not replace existing neighbourhood watches, merely automates them
- Empowers residents to be proactive about their neighbourhood safety
- Post events of a criminal or suspicious incident
- Upload photos of suspects or suspicious vehicles
- Automatic email or text message notifications of new posts
- Supports the concept of a neighbourhood captain and traditional neighbourhood watches
- Simplification of the traditional neighbourhood watch program through full automation
- The ability for neighbourhoods to share information across boundries
- Search/query tools for investigators not typically found in facebook or other social media websites
- The ability for investigators to post messages to specific neighbourhoods and to other officers
- Accessable to everyone with a computer/smartphone
- No forced sign-ups to facebook or other social media
- RSS feeds to local police news bulletins
More About Social Media
Not everyone uses social media; it can be very intrusive. Using social media would then exclude any of these people from participating in a neighbourhood watch.
This website collects no more information than a typical phone book therefore privacy cannot be compromised; for many people this information is already in 411.ca or canada411.ca.
Far less information is collected on this website than social media.
Facebook and Twitter do not provide a way of categorizing crimes and suspicious activity. This website provides these categories such as Break & Enter, Suspicious Vehicle, Incident, etc. This allows investigators an
easier way to filter and track certain events. Imagine if over a million people were using a neighbour watch website that did not allow for these categories, how would investigators
be able to keep up and get any meaningful information from all those potential posts?
Facebook and Twitter work fairly well for individual neighbourhood watches. However, with facebook, you have to grant permission to your wall/timeline. You also have to know about, seek out and then sign-up to other users
news-feed pages. There is no automatic way of knowing about and being connected to other neighbourhood watches...it is a completely manual process. This website automatically adds new users and neighbourhoods to the appropriate lists
allowing any user from any neighbourhood to automatically see any other neighbourhood`s events.
Examples of criminals crossing boundaries
The Vaulter robbed banks in Toronto, Calgary and other cities but lived in France. The Subaru Bandits committed Break & Enters from Bowmanville all the way over to Hamilton and in-between.
The violent home invasions happened in Kingston and Toronto and were committed by the same perpetrators. These are three quick examples of how criminals cross boundaries.
For this reason it is important for neighbourhood watches to know about criminal activity in neighbouring areas
and this website automatically provides this information, something social media does not.
Bullying. Social media and its blog-like structure allows for the possiblity of residents to use it as a "soapbox" and express opinions on politics
and other social issues. This is not what neighbourhood watches should be about or allow.
Forming A Neighbourhood Watch - Formal Or Informal
A formal neighbourhood watch involves contacting your local police liason officer, acquiring pamphlets and canvasing your neighbours. Once you have
about 50%-80% of residents signed up, then your police service will recognize your group as a neighbourhood watch. What if you cannot get at least
50% signed up but you would still like a neighbourhood watch? Perhaps an informal watch will work for you.
An informal neighbourhood watch is just one where concerned neighbours have gotten together but do not have enough members for their
local police to recognize them. With the internet and websites like this one, it is much easier today for any number of neighbours
to get together and form a neighbourhood watch. Over time, this could even grow to meet the requirements of the police.
It is easier and perhaps quicker to start an informal neighbourhood watch as less members are required and if it becomes popular enough then
it may grow into a formal watch. The long term desire would be to have a formal watch but with modern technology it is now easier for neighbours
to communicate with each other with or without the help of the police. The need for a neighbourhood captain to communicate crime trends is
no longer required with neighbours keeping each other informed electronically as well as most police services post crime bulletins on either
their website and/or RSS feeds and/or twitter.
In some rare cases neighbours might not be able to form a formal watch despite wanting to because crime rates are flat and the police do
not think it would be worth the effort, expense or other resources (ie. News Article).
See the following safety page for safety tips.
Police On-line Crime Reporting Forms
If you see a crime-in-progress, phone 9-1-1. If you discover a crime and the criminal is likely long gone you could use your police service's online
crime reporting forms to make a report. No crime is too small, report everything.
Durham Regional Police Service
Halton Regional Police Service
Ontario Provincial Police
Peel Regional Police Service
Toronto Police Service
Waterloo Regional Police Service
York Regional Police Service
If you see a crime-in-progress, phone 9-1-1. If you suspect criminal activity (ie. drug dealing, prostitution, etc.) in your neighbourhood
and wish to report it anonymously then you can use Crime Stoppers. No crime is too small, report everything.
- Click on the link below
- On their website, click the red Submit A Tip button if on the home page
- If on their Tips page, click on By Webtip the grey button to the right
- Click on the https://www.tipsubmit.com/ link
- Select your country, province, city and police service
- Fill in the online form
Direct link to submission form
Questions/comments can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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