Curtain twitchers, nosy neighbours and online snooping; Britain is officially an inquisitive country. According to a study by findaproperty.com, more than a third of us have logged onto an estate agents website to find out what our neighbours’ houses are like inside.*
And while we may be naturally curious as a nation, it’s no longer such a faux pas to keep an eye on your neighbour’s house.
In 1982 after a spate of crime, a small village called Mollington decided to take the law into their own hands and founded Neighbourhood Watch. 30 years later it’s still going strong and it is estimated that a quarter of the country – more than 5 million households** – is covered under the scheme.
A study in 2008*** showed that most schemes were effective in reducing local crime and Neighbourhood Watch still plays a key part of the Home Office’s crime-reduction strategy.
These days the schemes don’t just focus on car crime and burglary, but also target anti-social behaviour such as vandalism and graffiti. Some groups also work to improve the community, working with charities such as Help the Aged and encouraging neighbourly activities and events.
Benefits of Neighbourhood Watch
Most burglars are opportunistic, so if your street is involved in a Neighbourhood Watch scheme it could deter thieves who are more likely to target an unprotected road.
By being a member of a scheme, you will receive helpful information about keeping your property secure and your belongings safe, dealing with bogus callers and how to lobby local government about issues such as street lighting.
As houses in Neighbourhood watch areas are less likely to be burgled, by participating in your local area’s group, you could receive a discount on your home insurance.
Getting involved in a scheme
To set up a group in your area, speak to your local police station’s Crime Prevention Co-ordinator who will be able to give you more information about starting a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
Each group elects a committee and a co-ordinator who is the main point of contact for the community and the police. Meetings are usually held in a member’s home to keep them informal and each group has different objectives that they wish to tackle.
There are also several partner schemes you can join, including Allotment Watch, Horse Watch and Canal Watch which can help your community tackle any other issues it may have.
It can be difficult to maintain everyone’s interest, so organising some community events, such as a fundraiser or a barbecue, can help people to get to know each other and work together. It’s also important to welcome new members of the community so that they feel involved.
Although being a member of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme can provide extra security for your home, it doesn’t guarantee that your house is safe. Having a comprehensive home insurance policy ensures that you’re financially protected if something does happen.
John Lewis Home Insurance (www.johnlewis-insurance.com/home) provides unlimited* Buildings and Contents Cover so you don’t have to worry about being underinsured. We also offer Worldwide Possessions Cover up to £25,000 so that your belongings are covered even if you go on holiday.
DIY mishaps and spilled Sauvignon are also covered with our optional Accidental Damage Cover and we also offer optional 24 hour Home Emergency Service so that you can get things rectified no matter what time of day it is
For more information about how John Lewis Insurance can protect your home please visit the website.
*There is no total sum insured limit but money, single article and total valuables limits apply.