Neighbours watch over Merton

Thousands of Merton’s households are seeing the value of safety in numbers as they join forces in setting up Neighbourhood Watch schemes, supported by the council and the award winning Merton Neighbourhood Watch Association.

Significant increases in Merton’s Neighbourhood Watch schemes being set up over the last 12 months mean that there are now more than 350 schemes in the borough covering an impressive 30,000 homes, almost half of all homes in the borough. In recognition of their work the five-strong committee of Merton Neighbourhood Watch Association and the Neighbourhood Watch Manager have this week received a special Police award to congratulate and thank them for their work in the borough.

The Merton Neighbourhood Watch Association were the only community group to win a 2008 Special Commendation for Services to the Community award, presented by the Police Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Chris Bourlet.

Merton is currently the third safest borough in London but fear of crime is much higher. Neighbourhood watch schemes are designed to keep the borough as safe as possible through a variety of means, and as a result help to reduce fear of crime.

Walter Picano, Merton resident and Chair of Merton Neighbourhood Watch Association commented:

“Neighbourhood Watch is about looking out for each other and improving the quality of life for yourself and your neighbours. By working together, neighbours can help reduce all sorts of local crimes. They can also take action to improve the environment by getting something done about things like vandalism, graffiti, poor lighting and a lack of local amenities. It is a fantastic way to help build a safer community.”

Merton Council Assistant Chief Executive Abdool Kara said: “At Merton we know that each part of the borough is different and residents have varying concerns. Supporting Neighbourhood Watch schemes enables us to work with local communities to really get to the heart of the issues, and so help our residents feel safe by putting their needs first.

“Winning an award from the police for the work on our Neighbourhood Watch schemes is a real achievement for the teams involved, proving that working together really can make a difference.”

Aside from being safe and sound Merton residents can also gain other benefits from setting up or becoming part of a scheme – for example, membership can qualify homeowners for a 10- 20% reduction on their home insurance.

Joining or setting up a scheme is easy and can be done by contacting Merton’s Neighbourhood Watch Manager Lee Robert