If there’s not currently a Neighbourhood Watch group in your area and you’re keen to start one, here's all the information you need to know.
Are you interested in starting a Neighbourhood Watch group in your area?
We’re here to support you, however we can.
By starting a Neighbourhood Watch group, you’re joining our network of more than 4,500 volunteers throughout Victoria who have also decided to make their neighbourhood a better place to live.
Before starting a group, there are a few things to consider.
Is there already a group in your area?
First check our Find a group locator to see if there is an existing group in your area. If there is one, click on the “enquire online” button to ask about joining.
If there isn’t one, contact our Member Coordinator about starting a group for your neighbourhood. We will aim to get back to you within 2 business days.
Before starting a group, here are a few things to consider.
Why do you want to start a group in your area?
Think about the reasons why you would like to start a group in your area. It could be that you:
- Want to bring your neighbours together, get to know them and feel part of a more inclusive, friendly community where neighbours feel safer and better connected.
- Have been affected by crime in your area, or are concerned about local crime rates, and want to work with your neighbours and local police to address safety concerns and reduce the opportunities for crime.
- Would like do something to help your community, build positive relationships with fellow residents and help make your neighbourhood a better place to live.
What’s involved in starting a group?
There are 4 key steps to take to get your group up and running.
1. Think about what you can do as a group to make your area a better place to live.
We encourage our groups to take positive actions to bring neighbours together and reduce opportunities for crime to happen in their communities. Your group’s activities will depend on what you can do, what makes the best impact, what resources you can access and the advice of local police. Example activities include:
- Safe Plate days
- Coffee and conversation mornings
- Property marking
- Clean-up days
- Sharing crime prevention tips
- Carpark audits
- Holding information stands
- Running programs in schools
2. Share your idea with your neighbours
Let your neighbours know you’re keen to start a local Neighbourhood Watch group and see if they would like to take part. Tell them it’s about making your neighbourhood a safer, better connected and more inclusive community – by reporting suspicious behaviour, sharing simple tips to prevent crime, and connecting with others. It isn’t about being a vigilante, patrolling the streets or spying on others.
3. Promote your plan to start a group
If you want others in your local area to join with you there are a few things you can do to find other interested people:
- Contact us to start an accredited local Neighbourhood Watch Facebook page for your area.
- Create a flyer and do a letterbox drop (we can give you a template).
- Put up a flyer on community noticeboards.
- Post in local community Facebook groups.
- Set up an information stall at a local market, school fair or festival.
4. Hold an information session
Once you have identified 5 to 10 people who are interested in forming a Neighbourhood Watch group, hold an initial community information session. Contact our Member Coordinator with a few date and time options for the meeting, so we can make sure that a Neighbourhood Watch Victoria representative can attend to answer any questions.
Once you have a firm date, time and venue, advertise your information session widely. Be sure to invite the local Victoria Police crime prevention officer to attend (we can introduce you). Use the meeting as an opportunity to sign up members and volunteers (we will provide you with membership forms) and nominate the office bearers.
What if I’m unsure about starting a group?
If you’re not sure about taking the leap into starting a real-world group, you may like to test the waters by running an accredited local Neighbourhood Watch Victoria Facebook page first.
Although there may already be a community page or group for your area, having a Neighbourhood Watch specific page helps attract like-minded people who are interested in learning more about crime prevention, community safety and connecting with neighbours in your area. And as an accredited Neighbourhood Watch page we can provide you with content to use.
If there isn’t already an accredited Neighbourhood Watch Facebook page for your suburb, the State Office team will set one up for you. Once we have your completed membership form and police check, you will become an admin on the page and be provided with content guidelines and post ideas.
What support does Neighbourhood Watch provide?
NHW Victoria will support you to get things up and running and provide ongoing information and resources to help your group succeed. This includes:
- A Neighbourhood Watch Victoria representative attending your first information session to answer your questions.
- A dedicated members’ platform where you can safely store members information, send emails, and access volunteer information, activity/event guides, policies and procedures, newsletter templates, training videos, brand and content guidelines and crime prevention information.
- Insurance coverage for volunteers involved in group activities, and public liability insurance.
- Creating an accredited Neighbourhood Facebook page for your group.
- Providing customised Neighbourhood Watch group logos and an accredited Neighbourhood Watch Victoria Facebook profile picture.
- Access to resources and tools for your events, including the Neighbourhood Watch van, mini house, home security banners, safe plate signs and hi-vis vests.
- Support with marketing artwork.
- Regular members’ emails, 3 members’ forums per year and training opportunities.
- A library of branded educational and promotional material that you can print and distribute or share via email or social media.
- Membership of the NHW Alliance Facebook group where you can share information or ask questions of other Neighbourhood Watch area coordinators.
- If there is already a Neighbourhood Watch LGA committee in your area, we will connect you with them so they can provide mentoring and support as well.