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Neighbourhood Watch (also known as Block 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.
Neighbourhood Protect is a free web-based Neighbourhood Watch tool to administer neighbourhood watches in Canada .
Neighbourhood Protect expands on the idea of neighbourhood watch by joining multiple neighbourhood watches together through one central database.
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 since some criminals travel by bike or car and can affect more than one neighbourhood.
The Vaulter robbed banks in Toronto, Calgary and other cities but lived in France. The Subaru Bandits committed Break & Enters from Bowmanville to Hamilton and in-between.
The violent home invasions happened in Kingston and Toronto and were committed by the same perpetrators.
Neighbourhood Protect requires very little effort on the part of its members; just look out for each other`s property and report a possible crime and let your immediate neighbours know about your neighbourhood watch.
There is no patrolling, big canvassing, time consuming meetings etc. This is to make your life safer and easier, not more complicated.
See the FAQ page for further detail.
Houses vs Apartments/Condos
House owners would benefit most from neighbhourhood watch. They can install security cameras, share images, and likely other house owners in the area could
be affected by the same perpetrator. Apartment/condo residents do not have their own security cameras; that is usually handled by the building management, and they typically
do not share video images with tenants. It would be best for building management to join. If you live in a small apartment with outdoor only parking and no building surveillance cameras, then being part of a neighbourhood watch
could still be beneficial.
Police in the GTA warn about counterfeit $100 bills with serial# FKW4346846. Ink on bills also flakes off.
Newer cars with keyless radio fobs that can unlock and start a car by proximity are vulnerable to signal boosters catching the signal and amplifying it for thieves. Keep these
fobs a great distance from your car and away from the front rooms of your house when at home.
This website is a tool specific to supporting neighbourhood watch programs by:
- Empowers residents to be proactive about their neighbourhood safety
- No minimum number of members to form a neighbourhood watch
- Maintain membership lists in a confidential manner
- Members maintain their own information, not a captain
- New member sign-ups are done via a referral system instead of large door-to-door canvasing
- Supports residential and commercial neighbourhoods
- Supports an infinite number of neighbourhoods
- Does not replace existing neighbourhood watches, merely automates them
- 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 automation
- The ability for neighbourhoods to share information across boundries
- New neighbourhood watches are automatically visible to other neighbourhoods; never a need to manually search for new members
- Accessable to everyone with a computer/smartphone
- No association to social media
- RSS feeds to local police news bulletins
- Real-time police crime maps
- Structured in a way to minimize the possibility of using the website as a "soapbox" to rant
- Concept of a Dashboard for a quick overview of all registered neighbourhood watches including other regions
- Any new neighbourhood watches automatically appear in the Dashboard
- Link to any neighbourhood watch as a liason
- Receive email notifications of any monitored neighbourhood watch
- Quick access to member contact information including who has cameras if follow-up is required
- Post messages to any neighbourhood
- Neighbourhood posts have specific fields similar to RMS to capture meaningful data, not just a single Comment field
- Search/query tools for investigators not typically found in Facebook or other social media websites
- Accessable to everyone with a computer/smartphone
- No association to social media
- RSS feeds to local police news bulletins and real-time police crime maps reduce the need to message neighbourhoods
Events Reported By Members
Local Police News
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
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. This situation occurred in 2015 for residents of St Marys in Perth County. The original news article from ourperth.ca was lost when it was taken over by stratfordbeaconherald.com.
In another instance, The Hampton Community Association of the Village of Hampton ON struggled to get 51% sign-up to form a formal watch (ie. News Article). They had a follow-up meeting Nov. 30, 2017 but nothing appears to have
come from that. One resident had commented that he missed the meeting due to working late. This is one of the drawbacks to a traditional watch where physical meetings are required instead of just
doing everything through a website specific to that task.
Why Bother Joining And Forming a Watch?
For years police services in the USA have downsized and laid off officers ie. Bergen County officers laid off.
Now, in Canada, downsizing has started with some of the larger services ie. Calgary Downsizing
and Toronto Downsizing.
In recent years in the GTA, police services stopped attending traffic accidents where no one was taken by ambulance to the hospital. These collisions are now handled at Collision Reporting Centres. Property crimes like theft from vehicles,
stolen vehicles, shoplifting, damage to property, etc. now are reported online with your local police or over the phone. Police rarely attend. Academics like Patrick Sharkey, author of Uneasy Peace, advocate
that police services are not needed as much for public safety and that citizens can take up more responsibility for their neighbourhoods. March 2018 saw the approval of the Safer Ontario Act which allows for non-police agencies to
perform some of the duties traditionally done by police.
This graph shows how Canadian police services have a much worse police to citizen ratio than international police services.
This graph shows how Canadian police services have far more (major) crimes to investigate per officer than international police services.
Source of graph data from Wikipedia for populations and police websites for crime stats for 2016/2017.
In Toronto, the Transformational Task Force report from 2016 suggested downsizing from 17 police stations down to 11 stations and eliminating the TAVIS (Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy) unit amongst other reductions.
Since the release of this report, TAVIS has been disbanded. With a 35% reduction in TPS police stations, service and response times are more likely to get worse rather than better.
This trend will likely continue with the direction we are going, placing
a greater burden on citizens for their own safety.
With fewer police officers responding to crimes, citizens need to do more to help report and solve these crimes. Neighbourhood watch organizes residents into a better mode of communication
and ones with cameras can help gather video evidence of perpetrators and suspicious vehicles.
There are several different types of neighbourhood watch schemes. Here is a list of the most common ones and their advantanges and disadvantages.
Meta-analysis shows that neighbourhood watch reduces crime by about 16% (Source, see "Summary of the results"). It also aides in an investigation
because it informs neighbours with cameras that a crime has occurred and they can check their video for a possible perpetrator or suspicious vehicle, something that likely would not happen without a watch.
Not mentioned in most studies is the improved solvability of a crime through neighbourhood watch. A member`s camera further down the street may have recorded the best images of a perpetrator
and/or their car, something that would have otherwise been missed.
It is free and therefore one of the cheapest ways to protect
your property and neighbourhood. Automation has made it almost effortless so there is no reason not to sign up and start a neighbourhood watch.
See the following safety page for safety tips.
Although most private drone operators view these as toys, there are some safety and privacy concerns that must be respected. Canada
has a new law regarding the use of these drones:
Drones and the law. Fines go up to $3,000.
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
Website Rules Of Conduct
- Posts onto the Events page are strictly regarding neighbourhood safety and property (stolen, found, damaged, etc.).
- No social media type posts about gardening, cooking, politics, etc.
- No speculation on crime, just observed activities.
- If you observe a crime, report it to the police before posting it here.
- Be respectful of your neighbours.
- The neighbourhood captain and website administrator reserve the right to delete any inappropriate posts.
Information collected on this website is for the purpose of administrating neighbourhood watches and may be shared with police services to assist in their investigations. Personal contact information will not be shared with any non-police organizations. General aggregate information may be used to provide stats to public organizations.
There is a variety of hardware such as web hosting, communication lines and power generation that could potentially affect the availability of this website that goes beyond the control of the administrator. As such, there is only up to a 99% guarantee of uptime.
Questions/comments can be directed to email@example.com. If you live outside of Canada
and would like this tool for your area send an email to discuss.
If you find this website useful, would you consider taking a very quick survey of your visit?
Improving Neighbourhood Watch Through Automation