Most people will have heard of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme. It is the community based crime prevention program which aims to improve the quality of life within a neighbourhood by minimising preventable crime and promoting closer community ties. The program relies on the community and the Police working together in a partnership to achieve these aims.

Based on similar community programmes operating in the Unites States and Canada, Neighbourhood Watch began in Australia in 1983 in the outer Melbourne suburb of Kananook. It was initiated when it became clear that police alone could not control the rising rate of crime. Other states across Australia quickly followed suit, and today it's the largest community based crime prevention program in the Southern Hemisphere.

The programme has been so successful in reducing crime that in Victoria alone there are now 1300 neighbourhood Watch areas servicing both city and rural locations and covering approximately 900,000 households.

Neighbourhood Watch has also bene!ted communities by increasing resident's awareness and knowledge, and enabling better home security and increased personal safety. Most importantly, the programme encourages a sense of responsibility between neighbours and communities. Regular meetings, functions, events and activities enable neighbours to establish closer ties. If you have moved to a new area or would simply like to get involved in the programme, visit the Neighbourhood Watch Victoria website or check out their page Facebook for details on how to participate.