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Watching out for crime
One evening this week I was at the Southampton Neighbourhood Watch annual meeting.
If you don't know Neighbourhood Watch then you might think it's about coffee mornings or nosey neighbours.
If you do know about it then you probably realise that it's a great scheme supported by people who just care about their own and their neighbour's safety from crime and they are prepared to do something about it for themselves and each other.
We heard about some great examples of local work and a determination to keep building on that and in particular encourage more young people into being neighbourhood watch members and supporters.
It doesn't cost and it doesn’t take much time up. The most important thing about it is sharing information, often from police, between close neighbours and looking out for each other, for example so that people tell each other about suspected bogus callers to homes. Neighbourhood Watch can be a great way for people to build relationships and trust with each other.
We've currently got a rise in the number of houses being burgled in the City and some people are making it too easy for criminals by leaving property on show and houses insecure. Please be careful about the security of your own home and look out for each other. If you might like to develop a scheme locally then contact your local police Safer Neighbourhood Team or Southampton City Council and we can help.
Watching crime as it actually happens though is thankfully very rare still.
Except, that is, when there is a public demonstration. I expect lots of us have seen the images of 'students' smashing windows in London. Did you notice though who was surrounding the individual and watching as he kicked a window in?
There was a ring of photographers and camera people all around him and other demonstrators were some way back. So what was really going on?
A student demo or a thug performing in front of cameras knowing he would soon be seen across the world on TV, YouTube etc. A few criminals looking for a few minutes of fame and a load of journalists ready and willing to help them achieve it. Before you come back and say there were some police just stood watching too then I note the PM criticised the police planning but rightly praised the few officers who were in the face of such anger and hatred.
At G20 police were criticised for being too heavy handed, at this demo we were supposedly not strong enough. Is there just the right amount of police force used or just the right amount of damage and injury by demonstrators? Anyone want to try and define what the right amount is?