Neighbour Hood Support
Maintaining a Neighbourhood Support Group 

Here are some suggestions to keep your Neighbourhood Support Group active. 

Crime prevention and community safety activities 

If there is a particular crime concern or issue in your area, consider contacting your local Community Constable or police station to obtain advice. Your local Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator may also be able to assist and offer advice.

Check to see if there is a Fact Sheet covering the crime concern or issue on this website.

  • Canvas the needs and interests of members and arrange suitable speakers, such as: 
  • the Fire Service to talk about smoke alarms and evacuation plans 
  • Home security specialists 
  • Local council representatives like the Dog Ranger or Noise Control Officer to discuss local concerns 
  • a Civil Defence and Emergency Management representative to talk about preparing for an emergency and what to do 
  • someone to talk about water safety 
  • a police officer to speak about local issues and crime prevention
  • a demonstration and practical training in CPR and first aid 
  • a discussion of issues with other essential services in the area 

Neighbours phone tree/contact list 

Ensure members receive a list containing neighbour information. This includes names, addresses, home/work/cell phone numbers, e-mail and other relevant details e.g. my house has an audible burglar alarm. Try to keep this list as up to date as possible and please remember that the information contained in this list must remain confidential to the list members.

Emergency signals 

This may be necessary if other means of communication have been cut off e.g. in a civil defence emergency. There are a number of alarms, gadgets, air horns etc available to attract attention. 

Reach an agreement as to what sort of system is to be used. Ensure all members will recognise the signal and respond to it. 

Street signs and stickers 

Street signs and stickers are obtainable through your local Neighbourhood Support network. They make others, including potential offenders, aware that your group exists and that its members are keeping a watch for suspicious activities and are prepared to help each other. 

Communication activities 

For Neighbourhood Support to operate effectively there must be communication between the police, Coordinators/Contact People and group members. 

Encourage group members to share information about incidents and suspicious activities, either by direct contact or via the phone tree. Sharing such information alerts others in the group to be vigilant, to note suspicious behaviour and to ensure their own security is in place. If you think other groups need to know as well, do so via the Community Constable, local police station or the Neighbourhood Support network. 

Members should be encouraged to advise their immediate neighbours and Contact Person when they go away. 

Replace yourself if you move and advise your local Neighbourhood Support network. 

Newsletters 

In Canterbury the Christchurch Coordinator publishes a thrice yearly magazine, two copies of which is mailed to each Contact Person. These contain handy hints as well as other information of interest for your area. These magazines should be circulated amongst your group and are useful for keeping everyone in touch and involved. 

Some of the larger groups publish their own newsletter. E-mail could be utilised for this purpose.

Social activities 

Social activities are a positive way to increase the appeal of your group. Neighbours are more likely to help people they know. Social activity allows people to meet on an informal basis and maintain enthusiasm.

  • An annual get together is recommended, such as: 
  • A barbecue, street party or other social or cultural event
  • A picnic in the park 
  • Food tasting or a demonstration of some sort 
  • Attending or watching a sports event together 
  • A street game of cricket, softball or soccer 

A neighbourhood activity during Neighbours’ Week, which is normally the first week in November each year. In Christchurch the City Council provides funding for the groups, and information about this is circulated to the groups usually in August or September.


Summary 

Safe communities do not happen by accident. Safer communities are only achievable if a majority of people take an active role in preventing crime happening to themselves, their families and friends. 

By communicating and getting together with our neighbours and providing support for each other, a general feeling of well being can spread through your community and make it a place where people want to live. Finally, remember your group has the full support of your local police. Don’t hesitate to contact the police for advice or telephone 111 in an emergency. Ensure you know the local police phone number to ring for other enquiries and to report suspicious behaviour.

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