NEIGHBOURS helping neighbours — a simple idea that holds immeasurable power when it comes to keeping communities safe. Over the past two years, Greytown Neighborhood Watch (GNW) has grown in numbers, having a positive impact on the reduction of crime in the community, thanks to the community taking a more active role in stopping crime before it starts. People expect to live in their neighborhoods in peace and quiet, and although it’s difficult to measure the effectiveness of a neighborhood watch against crimes, neighborhood watch programmes are undoubtedly effective. People watch out a little more for each other, and if there is a problem, it’s good to know that there are people to help get the word out on what to do. A neighbourhood watch encourages homeowners to have security inspections, upgrade locks, and affiliate with a security company that offers armed response. Residents must remember to keep their eyes open. No matter how many security patrols go through a community each day, no one knows their own neighborhood better than the people who live there. You need to be the eyes and ears for law enforcement. Keeping an eye out for suspicious activity, anything that seems out of the ordinary neighborhood routine will have the biggest impact on deterring would-be criminals. If you know someone is away and a vehicle pulls up to their front gate, don’t just question that in your mind — be vigilant. If you see an unusual car parked on your street, get the license plate number, details of the vehicle, and forward this to 911 and your security company. Residents should always keep an eye out for strangers in their neighborhood. If anyone is seen running through the neighbourhood, carrying suspicious packages, entering an unoccupied house, loitering around or peering into cars, waiting around schools or parks, even appearing at people’s doors as a delivery person with the wrong address, call the authorities and inform members of the neighbourhood watch. It is imperative to always make picking up the phone your first action. Don’t ever try to be a hero and stop a break-in or a robbery. It’s just too dangerous. The most important way to help local law enforcement is to try to remember as many details as possible, either about the individual or the situation just witnessed. Write down what happened, when and where it happened, and as many details as possible. When it comes to vehicles, try to remember license plate numbers, even portions of them can help, and as much detail about the make and model of the car as possible, as well as the direction of its travel. In terms of people, think of height, weight, sex, hair colour, race, clothing and other distinguishing details. The more details people can remember, the better the chance that law enforcement will be able to find and prosecute the suspect. Safety, like so many other things, is in the details. It’s all about exchange of information. Constant communication and active reporting are very important. Share this information with your domestic workers and gardeners as well. Ensure your domestic workers know where the panic buttons are situated on your property. For more information, or to become a member of a neighbourhood watch group, you can contact the security company you are affiliated to. Together we can win the fight against crime.